Wednesday, October 6, 2010

All Hail the Return of the Shrimp

Hubmeister is finally eating shrimp again after an unfortunate pad thai experience at a local restaurant in March.  He and Son of Hubmeister both ordered the same shrimp dish and only the older Meister got sick, so I can't totally blame the restaurant (but he does!). 

This pukefest happened the night before coaching a morning game in Orlando, then driving back to Tampa, flying to Atlanta and shuttling to Athens to see Daughtress in a play - all in the same day.  It was the worst timing imaginable, not that food poisoning ever comes at a good time, but traveling with the remnants of bad Thai food in your gut literally blows.  I guess I'd hold a grudge against shrimp, too.  I've held a grudge against bourbon since my college days.

For the shrimp homecoming celebration last night I made a shrimp and asparagus dish out of my trusty low-fat Good Morning America Cut the Calories Cookbook.  Hubmeister bought me this book years ago - the copyright is 2000 - because my food hero Sara Moulton graces the cover.  I didn't start using it until we moved back to Florida and I weighed myself.  It turns out I was having too much fun living in Georgia, making and scarfing down biscuits and fig cake, to be concerned with the tightening of my clothes and the widening of my butt.

I attribute this cookbook with much of my dieting success.  When you love to cook, it's hard to sacrifice all the wonderful fat that makes everything taste so good, but this book showed me that you can still be creative and make tasty meals with lower calorie ingredients.  Sara, who co-edited the book, chose the best low-calorie, low-fat recipes submitted by more than a thousand "Good Morning America" viewers. 

Among the 120 recipes selected is the one below for Shrimp and Asparagus Casserole.  It's a really fast one to whip up - the speediness of preparing shrimp always a big plus - and I especially like the sherry, which brings out the sweetness of the shrimp.  I didn't have mushrooms and the gang here hates them anyway, but what I lacked in mushrooms I made up for with shrimp.  A half-pound?  Come on. 

I served this light and easy meal over fragrant basmati rice.

Pretty impressive for 184 calories a serving

Shrimp and Asparagus Casserole
(Good Morning America Cut the Calories Cookbook)

1/2 pound fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 T unsalted butter
1/2 pound medium-size mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 C coarsely chopped yellow onion (about 1 medium-large onion)
1 T cornstarch
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg (I used freshly grated)
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper (or black, who cares?)
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 C skim milk
1/4 C dry sherry (buy real sherry, NOT cooking sherry)
1/2 pound shelled and deveined large raw shrimp, halved lengthwise (or don't bother halving them)
3 T freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Bring a large pan of water to boil over high heat.  Add asparagus and cook uncovered four minutes.  Drain asparagus, plunge into ice water, and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a large, heavy skillet over moderate heat.  Add mushrooms and onion and saute, stirring occasionally, until limp but not brown - about five minutes. 
  3. Blend in cornstarch, nutmeg, pepper, and salt, then mix in milk and sherry and, stirring constantly, bring quickly to a boil.  Adjust heat so mixture bubbles, and cook, stirring all the while, until thickened - about three minutes. 
  4. Add shrimp and cook uncovered just until shrimp turn pink - about two minutes.  Meanwhile, drain asparagus well, then add to shrimp mixture.
  5. Turn shrimp mixture into ungreased one-quart casserole and scatter Parmesan evenly on top.
  6. Bake uncovered until bubbly and lightly golden - about 10 minutes.  Serve at once.
Notes:  Serves three or four.  Buy whole nutmeg and grate on a microplane.  It's the only way I use nutmeg anymore.  Pick up a bottle of sherry in the wine section of your grocery store for under $10.  Put a splash in creamy soups, seafood and chicken dishes.

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