A Homerun Weeknight Dinner
By Karen Schulz
If there is one recipe that impresses people and makes me look like an amazing cook, it is Ginger Caramel Shrimp. Let’s face it, anything with the word caramel in it is a homerun. And it’s a lot easier to make this sweet, simple sauce, laced with ginger undertones, than it is to hit a homerun. The dish is an All-Star, and doable any day of the week.
The hardest part of this recipe is preparing the fresh ginger, but do not let that stop you. The key is a great peeler (I adore my Cutco peeler, it’s a game changer), or a sharp paring knife. Once you have the skin off, thinly slice the ginger, then stack the slices and cut thin strips. Rotate the stack and do the same, tiny checkerboard style and you are done. After that, you are home free and all that is left to do is to hit the start button on the rice maker. (If you don’t already own one, now is the time to invest in one. Just go middle of the road on price. You don’t need the Lamborghini of rice makers.)
I had no idea what I was missing until I bought a rice maker. No more forgetting to put the rice in the boiling water, or forgetting to check it before it’s burned and stuck to the bottom of the pan. The best part is, when it is finished, it defaults to warm and just waits patiently until you are ready for it.
I serve the shrimp over white rice with a fresh spinach salad. It is the perfect balance of protein, starch, and fresh veggies, and takes less than 30 minutes to make. It’s also a great change-up from the same-old flavors. Your family will feel like they are at a restaurant and you will love that it took you no time at all, which leaves more time for conversation around the table and catching up on everyone’s day.
<<Ginger Caramel Shrimp>>
½ cup kosher or sea salt (not iodized)
⅓ cup sugar
⅓ cup medium-hot chili powder
2 quarts warm water
1½ pounds large frozen shrimp, uncooked, no shells and deveined
4 large garlic cloves
1 4-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
4T. canola oil
½ t. fresh ground pepper
4 t. sugar
In a medium glass bowl, blend the salt, sugar, and chili powder in the warm water. Drop in the shrimp and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Drain the shrimp and pat dry.
Mince the garlic and ginger together. Heat the oil in a straight-sided 12-inch sauté pan over medium high heat. Stir in the garlic-ginger mixture, the pepper, and a sprinkle of salt. Cook for 1 minute, stirring with a wooden spoon. Blend in the sugar and keep stirring until the garlic is pale gold; do not let them get dark brown.
Immediately add the shrimp and stir for 1 to 2 minutes until shrimp are pink and barely firm. Serve with rice.