Friday, February 13, 2009

Spicy Lemon-Marinated Shrimp (Page 45)


  • Date: Thursday, January 22, 2009 -- 7pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B-

I prepared these shrimp for a party a few weeks back. Well, that was the plan anyway. Many of you who know me will know that I am vigilant about food safety. Extremely vigilant. I don't like to be sick. I don't want to make anyone else sick. I got salmonella once from home-cooked food (not cooked by me!) and ever since I have been deeply concerned with the safety of the food I serve. So my apartment is an extremely safe place to eat. A few weeks ago I bought these shrimp for a party we were throwing that week and when I opened the bag they smelled just slightly strange to me. Not rotten. It wasn't even a bad smell. There was just a whiff of something odd. I had my special gentleman smell them. He said, "They smell like shrimp." I decided he was right, I was being paranoid, and I proceeded.

I boiled the shrimp in salted water seasoned with pickling spices until the shrimp were just cooked through, then tossed the shrimp in a marinade of lemon zest, lemon juice, ground coriander, white wine vinegar, olive oil, water, sugar, red pepper flakes, and salt. These shrimp were supposed to marinate in the fridge for at least 8 hours, and up to 3 days. I prepared these 2 days before the party and put them in the fridge. A day later I was curious how they were tasting. I was busy doing some other cooking, so I asked my special gentleman to try one. He did, and said they were OK, but nothing special. An hour or so later, he briefly had a stomach ache. He didn't vomit. In fact, he was totally fine. But for about 5 minutes, his stomach hurt. And of course, being paranoid about food safety as I am, I was convinced it was the shrimp.

I was so paranoid, in fact, that I decided not to serve them. One of the guests at our party was the speaker for our departmental colloquium the next day. In particular I couldn't bear the thought of poisoning him the night before his talk. Yeah, I knew the shrimp were almost certainly fine. And indeed they were, since after the party my special gentleman and I both ate some with no consequences whatsoever. But I figured it was better to err on the side of caution. And anyway, these shrimp weren't that great. So it's not like everyone missed out on something truly delicious. They were very salty and definitely had a strong pickled flavor. Pickled shrimp is a Southern classic, and if you like that dish, you will probably like this rendition. But I have never been big on pickled shrimp myself, and this version didn't change my mind. I did like the bit of heat from the red pepper. I thought that added a nice contrast to the pickled flavor. I wouldn't make these shrimp again, but they also weren't bad. And if I could go back to that party, would I serve them? Nah, better safe than sorry!

Here is the recipe.


Kim said...

I am the same exact way about food safety. I bet I throw out a good chunk of meat each year thinking it "smells bad". It is better safe than sorry. I would rather throw away the food and lose the money then be sick or get someone else sick.
That must have been some party!! I bet all your invitees will be eager to come back again.

Teena said...

It's good to know I'm not the only one! I just hate the idea of making someone sick!!