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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Tag Archives: Garlic

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Garlic cloves come in a wide variety of sizes, so the numbers given in a recipe should be treated as a rough guide only. There are hundreds of named varieties of garlic, but all of them can be categorized into two major types: softnecked and hardnecked.

Hardneck garlic gets its name from the stiff stalks, or neck, of the garlic plants and prefer cold winter climates. Hardneck garlic bulbs are impressive with much larger cloves.

As they grow, they produce a stalk that coils from the top called a “scape” or garlic flower. When the scapes appear they curl and wind their way up and around the plants. Garlic scapes are completely edible and make for a true gourmet cooking experience.

Hardneck garlic include three varieties: Porcelain, Purple Stripe and Rocambole.

Almost all supermarket garlic is a softneck variety. This is because softneck garlic is easier to grow and can be mechanically planted. Softnecks are known by the white papery skin and an abundance of cloves, often forming several layers around the central core. The flexible stalk also allows softneck garlic to be formed into garlic braids (plaits).

There are two main types of softneck garlic: silverskin and artichoke.

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garlic4Buy firm, plump, heavy heads with tight, unbroken papery skins. The heavier the garlic, the fresher and better tasting it is. Avoid bulbs that are dried out or have soft spots or mold.

Store unpeeled heads of garlic in an open container in a cool, dry place away from other foods. Do not refrigerate or freeze unpeeled garlic. Properly stored garlic can keep up to three months.

As garlic ages, it will begin to produce green sprouts in the center of each clove. These thin green sprouts can be bitter, so discard them before chopping the garlic for your recipe.

You can buy a variety of garlic presses and other gadgets to help crush the cloves. If you’d rather avoid gadgets then it’s easy to crush garlic with only a knife and a little salt.

In general the finer the chop the stronger the taste. Crushed garlic has the strongest taste of all. When cooked whole, garlic has a much milder, rather sweet taste. Garlic also mellows the longer it is cooked. Garlic added at the end of cooking will give a stronger taste than garlic prepared the same way but added earlier.

To make garlic chips, use a paring knife to cut the clove into thin, vertical slices.

To make garlic flavored oil: heat the garlic chips in ½ cup extra virgin olive oil on medium-high heat. Stir chips several minutes or until lightly golden. Remove garlic from the oil in the pan.

It’s easy to overcook garlic, which results in hard, bitter pieces. Pour the oil over the drained pasta and serve. Or use the garlic flavored oil to brush on chicken or seafood before grilling.

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Warm Olives with Rosemary, Garlic and Lemon

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Strips of zest from 1 small lemon
  • 1 small rosemary sprig
  • 2 small garlic cloves, thickly sliced
  • 1 pound mixed oil-brined-cured olives, such as Kalamata, Niçoise, Moroccan, cracked green Sicilian and Cerignola (3 cups)

Directions

In a medium saucepan, combine the oil with the lemon zest, rosemary and garlic and cook over moderate heat until the garlic just begins to brown, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the olives and let stand for at least 15 minutes before serving.

MAKE AHEAD: The olives can be prepared up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated; warm gently before serving.

Tortellini and Spinach in Garlic Broth

Tortellini and Spinach in Garlic Broth

Don’t be tempted to cook the tortellini in the soup; they will soak up too much of the garlicky broth. Cook the pasta separately while the soup is simmering and stir them into the soup at the last moment.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups homemade or canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
  • 1 pound spinach, stems removed, leaves washed well (about 2 1/4 quarts)
  • Grated Parmesan, for garnish

Directions

In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the water, broth, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the tortellini until just done, about 4 minutes for fresh or 12 minutes for frozen. Drain.

Add the spinach to the soup and cook until just wilted, about 1 minute. Stir in the tortellini. Serve the soup sprinkled with grated Parmesan and pass more of the grated cheese at the table.

Variations: Substitute one quart of shredded escarole for the spinach. Use meat-or cheese-filled ravioli instead of the tortellini.

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Garlic-Herb Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Generous pinch of sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning (basil, oregano, chives, and thyme)
  • 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 oz. mixed greens

Directions

Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a jar. Stir well with a fork.

Add olive oil, cover tightly, and shake well until combined. You can also use a blender and drizzle the oil in slowly while it is running.

Serve over mixed greens.

Rustic Garlic Chicken

Garlic Chicken

Yes, three heads of garlic. They soften during cooking and take on a subtle sweetness.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 chicken (about 3 to 3 1/2 pounds), cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 3 heads garlic, cloves peeled but left whole
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Heat the oven to 400°. In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Saute the chicken until well browned, turning, about 8 minutes in all, and remove from the pot. Reduce the heat to moderate, add the garlic and sauté for 3 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the garlic and stir until combined. Return the chicken to the pot, cover, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Remove the pot from the oven and put it on a burner. Remove the chicken pieces from the pot and keep warm. Over moderately high heat, whisk in the wine and simmer for 1 minute. Whisk in the broth and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and simmer until the sauce starts to thicken, about 3 minutes. Turn the heat off, whisk in the butter, and pour the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with the parsley.

Serve with mashed potatoes, egg noodles or rice.

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Gelato al Aglio Cioccolato

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Directions

Chop the chocolate and place in a mixing bowl. Set aside.

Heat the milk and cream in a saucepan just to the point of boiling and add the garlic.  Remove the pan from the heat and steep, covered, for 15 minutes.  Remove the garlic, add the sugar to the milk mixture and reheat.

Whisk the egg and yolks until well-combined in a mixing bowl. Once the milk mixture is almost boiling, gradually whisk it into the eggs, constantly beating so that the eggs do not curdle. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and gently return to a boil over low heat and cook until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon.

Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture over the chopped chocolate. Stir until the chocolate melts. Cover the bowl and refrigerate to cool completely before churning. Overnight is best. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

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Garlic (Allium sativum) is a close relative of chives, leek and onions. This edible bulb of garlic cloves is found underground, below the leafy, scallion-like growth. A garlic bulb, composed of 4-60 cloves, can be 1.5 to 3 inches in diameter (4 to 7.5 cm) and grow to a height of 10 inches to 5 feet (10 cm to 1.5 m). The flowers are white with a rose or green cast. The bulbs themselves are creamy white and may have a purplish hue, as may the paper-like covering that surrounds the bulb.

As a culinary and medicinal plant, garlic spread in ancient times to Mediterranean regions and beyond. Garlic has been used for medicinal purposes by more cultures than any other plant product or substance. The first recorded use was by the Sumerians of Mesopotamia, in the region of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Archeologists have discovered paintings of garlic dating back to 3200 B.C in Egyptian tombs. A recently discovered Egyptian papyrus dated around 1,500 B.C. recommends garlic as a cure for over 22 common ailments, including lack of stamina, heart disease and tumors.

Garlic was so highly prized, it was even used as currency. Although the Egyptians considered garlic valuable, they had a strong aversion to cooking and eating it. The ancient Israelites were fond of garlic and in the Mishnah, a collection of Jewish traditions incorporated into the Talmud, the ancient Hebrew writers refer to themselves as “the garlic eaters.” Many other ancient civilizations, including the Romans and Greeks used garlic to boost strength and prevent diseases. In ancient Greece and Rome, garlic enjoyed a variety of uses, from repelling scorpions to treating animal bites and bladder infections to curing leprosy and asthma.

Although highly regarded as a medicine in eastern cultures, garlic was not used as a food. The Buddhists avoided eating it as did some Hindus.The ancient Indians valued the medicinal properties of garlic and thought it to be an aphrodisiac. But it was not considered to be suitable food for the upper classes, who detested its strong odor. It was also forbidden by monks, who believed it to be a stimulant that aroused passions. This attitude changed with the centuries and garlic, ginger and onion were, and continue to be, an indispensable part of the cuisine of Southern Asia.

In the Middle Ages, garlic was thought to combat the plague and was hung in braided strands across the entrances of houses to prevent evil spirits from entering and as a protection from the plague. Garlic was also used as a medicine against plagues that struck London in the 17th century and France in the 18th century.

In New England, during colonial times, garlic cloves were used to treat smallpox, rheumatism, intestinal worms and whooping-cough. Louis Pasteur recognized its antiseptic properties in 1858, and Albert Schweitzer recommended garlic for dysentery.

For many years, garlic was shunned as a food by the western cultures because of the odor it left behind. It was avoided in America until the 20th. century, when an influx of immigrants brought garlic flavored cooking with them and the use of garlic slowly gained a foothold in American cuisine. Today, garlic is recognized worldwide as an extremely nutritious addition to any diet.

Over a thousand papers on garlic health benefits have been published since 1950. Many of the health benefits of garlic that have been studied come from garlic’s abundant antioxidant nutrients. Garlic also contains enzymes, calcium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and selenium. Vitamins in garlic include vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B6 and vitamin C. Garlic is a powerful immune system booster. It increases the production of interferon (an antiviral compound), which improves the action of your white blood cells. Interferon and white blood cells are critical components of your body’s immune system.

There are certain dishes that are unimaginable without garlic: the sauce from France called aioli, the Italian anchovy dip called bagna cauda, the Middle Eastern spread hummus, Greek Tzatziki sauce and, of course, garlic bread, to name a few. It is also an important ingredient in many Italian sauces and Asian recipes. There are jellies and jams and even ice cream. For a milder flavor, choose Elephant garlic, which — while large in size — has a mild garlic taste.

Garlic Measurements:

Here are some garlic measurement yields:

1 small clove of garlic equals one half teaspoon of garlic

1 medium clove equals one teaspoon

1 large clove equals two teaspoons

1 extra-large clove equals one tablespoon

Garlic Tips:

Garlic keepers, covered ceramic pots with holes for circulation, provide the kind of cool, dark climate in which the bulbs keep best. Green shoots on stored garlic do not mean it can no longer be used, but the flavor will be milder.

Refrigeration changes the texture of garlic and causes it to quickly become soft. Neither freezing nor drying gives satisfactory results, but storing peeled cloves in wine or vinegar in the refrigerator, will preserve garlic for up to four months.

Do NOT store garlic in oil, even under refrigeration, because cases of botulism have resulted. Commercial preparations in oil, by law, have been specially treated to prevent this possibility.

When garlic cloves are cooked or baked whole, the flavor mellows into a sweet, almost nutty flavor that hardly resembles any form of pungency.

The potency of garlic is determined by size. The smaller you cut it, the stronger the flavor. Chopping finely and/or pressing a clove exposes more surfaces to the air, causing a chemical reaction to produce that strong aroma and potent flavor.

When sauteing garlic, be very careful not to burn it. The flavor turns intensely bitter and you’ll have to start over.

If you have a good garlic press, you don’t even need to peel garlic cloves before pressing, which can be a wonderful time-saver. Just place the unpeeled clove in the tool cavity, press and discard the skins left in the cavity.

Choose garlic heads that are firm to the touch, with no nicks or soft cloves. If you notice dark, powdery patches under the skin, pass it up because this is an indication of a common mold which will eventually spoil the flesh.

Some Common Types of Garlic

Believe it or not, all garlics do not taste the same. Some are exceedingly mild in taste, such as Italian Red and Red Toch. Some are medium flavored, while others are very hot and strong, such as Metechi (a marbled Purple Stripe) or Chinese Purple.There are several components to garlic taste: flavor, pungency (which is the degree of hotness when eaten raw) and residual or aftertaste, which for some varieties is considerable. Flavor and aftertaste can be measured on a scale from 1 to 10. Raw garlic is hot like a chili pepper, it just doesn’t last long, but it has an aftertaste. Flavor is the intensity of the garlic taste itself, whether it is hot or not. Some have a heavy flavor but are mild in heat, whereas others may be light in both or very heavy in both. If you get garlic that scores a ten on all three scales, you have very potent garlic.

For many, many more types of garlic, read what the following garlic farm in Wisconsin grows:  http://www.wegrowgarlic.com/7422.html

Fresh garlic consists of several cloves that can be individually separated from their paper-thin white peel. Each clove of garlic is also encased in its own individual white to reddish-brown wrapper, often layered, depending upon variety. Regardless of variety though, it is best to choose garlic with firm bulbs and roots still intact, as this is a sign of freshness. Whole garlic has a very mild scent, once cloves are chopped or pressed enzyme compounds are released which produce a sulfur based molecule known as allicin, a process which gives garlic its renowned pungent aroma and flavor.

Italian Purple garlic can easily be distinguished from other garlics by its appearance. Its solid bulb is almost uniformly rounded and its thick layers of wrappers are streaked with variegations of violet-purple. The bulb contains a thick central scape and about six to eight plump cream-colored cloves in relatively easy-to-peel skin. The cloves are aromatic, spicy and bold in flavor, which only increases with maturity. When eaten raw, a little bit goes a long way with Italian Purple garlic, since its flavor lingers for quite a while. Italian Purple is a rare Rocambole that was brought to the United States from northern Italy in the early 20th. century. It has been grown throughout many garlic growing regions in the Northern United States. It is still considered a rare garlic with very limited commercial production. You will most likely find Italian Purple garlic at a farmers market.

Elephant garlic is much larger in size than common garlic. Elephant garlic develops a large underground bulb (nearly twice the size of the largest true garlic variety) that produces an average of five large cloves. The largest bulbs can weigh as much as one pound, hence its given name. Its size matters only in appearance, though, as its flavor is milder and sweeter than that of other garlic varieties, due to its leek ancestry.

 

Thai garlic produce extremely small bulbs, that carry about six to eight pea-sized cloves, that grow around the garlic’s scape. When harvested at maturity, the cloves are encased in tight, firm wrappers varying in stripes and colors of purple and tan. The cloves themselves are creamy in color with a shallot rose-colored hue on their surface. Regardless of size, their flavors are pungent and aromas are strong. The fiery flavor does mellow with cooking.

Rancho Grande garlic is an Italian red garlic variety and a soft neck type of garlic. Rancho Grande garlic produces large bulbs, which carry an average of ten cloves, that grow in a circular order around the garlic’s central scape. The bulbs and individual cloves are wrapped in thin papery layers that protect the garlic from the elements through maturity. The cloves are a translucent white in color. The garlic’s aroma is a savory and mellow essence of allium, while the flavor is peppery and yet sweet.

 

Kettle River garlic produces large bulbs with an average of four cloves per bulb. The bulbs grow in pairs around the garlic’s central scape, their size is quite robust compared to many garlic varieties. Even when slightly peeled, the aromatics of the garlic permeate immediately and linger. The flavor of Kettle River garlic is intense with an earthy garlic taste and a smooth subtle aftertaste.

Green garlic are young, short-season plants that are harvested before they begin to form mature bulbs or cloves. Green garlic ranges in height from 8-18 inches, producing thin, green stalks and small, cylindric to globular white bulbs. Green garlic has a piquant garlic flavor and a firm texture.

 

Recipes That Showcase Garlic:

Antipasto

 

Garlicky Bruschetta with Tomatoes

 Ingredients:

  • 1 cup diced ripe tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 loaf Italian bread, sliced diagonally into 1-inch thick slices and toasted

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and garlic. Mix well to combine. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Spoon tomato mixture on toasted bread slices and serve.

Bagna Cauda

An Italian favorite, bagna cauda is a warm dip of anchovies, garlic and olive oil served with fresh vegetables as an appetizer.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 12 anchovies preserved in olive oil, drained and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks

For dipping:

A variety of raw vegetables, including fennel, cauliflower, Belgian endive, sweet peppers and zucchini.

Directions:

Put the olive oil in a pan with the garlic and anchovies and cook over a low heat, stirring, until the anchovies melt or break apart. Whisk in butter and, as soon as it has melted, remove the pot from the heat and whisk for a few more turns to blend everything together. Pour into a heatproof dish that fits over a flame or bunson burner, so that it does not get cold at the table. Serve with the crudities.

 

First Courses

 

Spaghetti with Garlic, Oil and Chili Pepper

Spaghetti with garlic, oil and peperoncino is one of the most simple and quick-to-prepare pasta dishes in Italy.

Servings 4

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb spaghetti
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 chili pepper
  • parsley, chopped to taste

Directions:

Cook the pasta in salted water and drain when cooked al-dente. While it is cooking, heat the garlic and the chili pepper, without letting them burn, and add to the cooked pasta, sprinkling some finely chopped parsley on top.

Garlic Soup Italian Style

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 large potatoes cut into bite-size cubes
  • 20 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Fresh chives or tops of green onions to garnish

Directions:

In a soup pot heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook for about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat and add the garlic and potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are softened, (not mushy.) This should take an additional 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the broth, the water, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until all ingredients are soft, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaves.

Process the soup with an immersion blender until chunky. Season with salt and pepper and garnish. Serve hot.

Linguine with Clam Sauce

See post on how to clean clams: 

https://jovinacooksitalian.com/2012/10/08/pasta-night/

6 servings

 Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup clam juice
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 dozen littleneck clams, washed well
  • 8 cups hot cooked linguine (about 1 pound uncooked pasta)

Directions:

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 3 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently. Stir in clam juice and next 5 ingredients. Stir well and add clams in a single layer. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until the clams open. Remove from heat. Discard any clams that do not open.

Drain pasta and return to the pot.  Add clam sauce to pasta and toss well. Serve in individual pasta bowls.

 

Second Courses

 

Garlicky Pan-Roasted Shrimp

 Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped or passed through a garlic press
  • pinch of dried red-pepper flakes, or 1 or 2 whole dried peperoncini (hot peppers)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

 Directions:

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and hot pepper and saute gently until the garlic softens but is not browned, about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and saute, turning once, until they are opaque, about 2 minutes on each side. Add the wine and salt, stir and cook for an additional 30 seconds, to allow the alcohol to evaporate. Remove and discard the whole peppers, if used. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

Italian Garlic Chicken and Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 8 bone in chicken thighs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon red chili peppers, finely minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 5 medium new potatoes
  • 2 -3 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Line a roasting pan with foil.

Cut off any excess skin from the chicken leaving just a covering on top. Dry chicken with paper towels and place into a large bowl. 

Drizzle 3 tablespoons olive oil over chicken.

Add garlic, lemon juice, parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary, chili peppers, salt and pepper.

Using clean hands, toss the chicken in the oil/garlic/herb mixture to thoroughly coat.

Lay the chicken pieces in the roasting pan, skin side down, leaving any excess oil/garlic/herb mixture in the bowl.

Cut up potatoes (do NOT peel) into large chunks and toss into the bowl with the remaining oil/garlic/herb mixture.

Toss to coat and place potato chunks around chicken in pan and drizzle any remaining oil mixture over chicken and potatoes.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and turn chicken and potatoes over.

Return to the oven and bake an additional 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

 


Shrimp is the most popular seafood in the United States, so it is good to know that it is a naturally renewable and sustainable resource. I live in the heart of shrimp country on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. We are able to purchase wild-caught shrimp year round.  However, not all shrimp is sustainable and there is a big taste difference in the shrimp you buy frozen from the supermarket and US wild-caught shrimp. Most likely the shrimp you bought at the supermarket or the shrimp dish you ordered at a restaurant was not from the sea.

Ninety percent of the shrimp eaten by Americans is imported from countries such as Thailand, India and Ecuador, where industrial shrimp farms are harming the environment and coastal communities, and producing unhealthy, flavorless shrimp. Unlike imported shrimp, US wild-caught shrimp, are unlikely to contain the chemicals that are used heavily on many foreign shrimp farms. The impact on the environment from shrimping in the United States is far less significant than those of many foreign shrimp farms.  Most US shrimp spawn offshore in deep water from early spring through early fall and grow very quickly. Additionally, choosing shrimp from the Gulf, the Carolinas, Maine or Oregon supports the economic well-being of U.S. coastal communities.

There are four species of wild-caught shrimp commercially harvested in the Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic waters.  Shrimp species are categorized by shell color: pink, white, brown, and royal red. The majority of the shrimp harvested in my area are the pink species.The meat is white with pink skin tones, firm texture and mild flavor.


Wild-caught white shrimp has a sweet taste and firm, almost “crunchy” meat which makes it a favorite of local chefs to use in a variety of recipes. They are harvested primarily in the fall from October through December. With a lifespan of up to 24 months, they can grow as large as eight inches.

Florida brown shrimp are harvested year round in both the Atlantic and Gulf waters with the highest yields June through August. Brown shrimp are named for their reddish brown shells and have a firmer texture than other varieties due to a higher iodine content. They can grow as large as nine inches long and have a maximum life span of 18 months.

Florida royal reds with their deep red color and soft, delicate texture have a unique taste that you won’t find in any other shrimp. Royal Reds are frozen onboard the ships and contain more salt than other shrimp so do not add salt to the water when cooking. Royal red shrimp are harvested in the deep Atlantic waters off the coast of St. Augustine with peak season in late summer through fall.

Gulf Shrimp Boats

HOW MUCH TO BUY

  • Raw, headless and unpeeled shrimp: 1/3 pound per serving.
  • Peeled and deveined shrimp: 1/6 pound per serving
  • Two pounds of raw, headless, unpeeled shrimp will yield 1 pound of cooked peeled and deveined shrimp.
  • Shrimp are sized and sold by count (number of shrimp per pound) either whole or headless. For example, headless shrimp of 16-20 count means there are 16 to 20 headless shrimp per pound. Counts for headless shrimp range from under 10 (the largest shrimp) to 300-500 (the smallest. 
  • Store shrimp in the coldest part of your refrigerator at 32 degrees F and use within two days, or freeze at 0 degrees F for up to six months.
  • Remember to purchase seafood last and keep it cold during the trip home.

Some of My Favorite Shrimp Recipes

Appetizers

Shrimp with Garlic and Bread Crumbs

  • 1 cup Progresso Italian Panko Crumbs
  • 1/3 cup very finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • big pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Lemon wedges

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Lightly oil a large baking pan.
2. In a bowl, combine the panko crumbs, parsley, garlic, red pepper, lemon juice and zest.  Add 2-3 tablespoons oil, just enough to moisten the crumbs.
3. Arrange the shrimp in the pan in a single layer, curling each one into a circle. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spoon a little of the crumb mixture onto each shrimp. Drizzle with a little more oil.
4. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp, or until the shrimp turn pink and the crumbs are lightly browned. Serve with lemon wedges.

Grilled Garlic Tomato Shrimp

  • 1 1/2 pounds jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 per pound), shelled and deveined, with tails left intact
  • 4 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and patted dry, chopped fine
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Salsa Verde, recipe below

Mince together the tomatoes, garlic, parsley and basil. Turn into a medium bowl and stir in the hot pepper and olive oil. Toss shrimp with the tomato mixture. Keep cold in the refrigerator.
Sprinkle the shrimp with salt and pepper. Cook the shrimp on a lightly oiled, medium-hot grill, about 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until pink and just firm. Serve with Salsa Verde.

Salsa Verde

  • 2/3 cup lightly packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup low sodium chicken broth


Put the parsley, capers, the garlic clove, the lemon juice, anchovy paste, mustard,  salt, and pepper into a food processor or blender. Pulse just to chop, six to eight times. With the machine running, add the oil and chicken broth in a thin stream to make a slightly coarse puree.


Main Dishes

How to Butterfly Shrimp for Stuffing

1. Use a sharp paring knife to cut along (but not through) the vein line, then open up the shrimp like a book

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2. Using the tip of the paring knife, cut a 1-inch opening through the center of  the shrimp.

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3. After the shrimp have been butterflied and the opening has been cut, flip the shrimp over when placing in the baking dish, so that they will curl around the stuffing.


4. Divide the stuffing among the shrimp, firmly pressing the stuffing into the opening and to the edges of the shrimp.

Crab Stuffed Shrimp

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

• 1/2 cup egg substitute
• 1 cup Progresso Italian bread crumbs
• 2 tablespoons light or low fat mayonnaise
• 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
• 1/4 teaspoon oregano
• 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1/2 pound lump crabmeat
• 1 pound large shrimp
• 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Lemon wedges

Peel shrimp, leaving tails on; devein and butterfly shrimp according to the directions above.
Place shrimp in a baking dish coated with cooking spray with the tail pointing up and the shrimp curved into a circle. (Fan the tail out for handle)
Mix first 7 ingredients and gently fold into crab meat. Place a spoonful of crab meat mixture on top of the circle. Top with fresh parmesan and place baking dish in 350 degree F. oven for 15 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

Stuffed Shrimp Oreganata

  • 1 pound large shrimp (16-20 per pound)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups of fresh bread crumbs
  • (made from Italian bread, crusts removed and processed into crumbs)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tail intact. To butterfly them, follow the directions above.  Line a baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, spray with nonstick spray and arrange the shrimp in a single layer.
Heat the butter and the olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, soft and just beginning to turn golden – do not brown. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, oregano, crushed red pepper, salt and black pepper. Mix well.
Spoon even portions of the breadcrumb mixture over each of the butterflied shrimp. Using your fingers, gently mold each portion of stuffing around the shrimp. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the shrimp turn pink and opaque. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with lemon juice and serve immediately.
Serves 4

Shrimp Parmigiana


 You will need the following amounts for 2 servings.  Recipe is easily doubled or tripled.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450°F.  Spray a baking dish that fits the portion of shrimp you are making with cooking spray.

Place the egg substitute in a shallow bowl, and the Panko breadcrumbs in another.

Shrimp in Egg Bath.

Wash and dry the shrimp. Season shrimp with salt and pepper.   Put shrimp in the bowl with the egg substitute to coat and then into the breadcrumbs. Place in the baking dish.

Breading Shrimp with Panko

The shrimp can be prepared ahead up to this point.  Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Shrimp Ready to be Baked

Drizzle the top of the shrimp with the olive oil and bake on the middle oven rack for 12 minutes.

Shrimp after Baking in the Oven

 Pour sauce evenly over shrimp and then sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese.

Shrimp with sauce and cheese ready to return to the oven.

Return to the oven and heat just until cheese melts about 3-4 minutes.

Shrimp after Cheese has Melted

Shrimp Parmigiana served with Spaghetti


Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Spaghetti

In Italy the phrase “alla fra diavolo”, which means “in Brother Devil’s style,” refers to a dish in which chicken is sprinkled heavily with black pepper and then grilled.  In America, lobster fra diavolo became a popular restaurant dish in the 1930s—it was unknown in Italy, where they do not have American lobsters. The reference to “brother Devil” refers both to the red color of the lobster and the tomato sauce and to the hot bite provided by the chile pepper,  which suggests that this sauce might have originated with Abruzzese cooks who came to this country. Abruzzo is renowned for its hearty and spicy dishes that use hot red peppers, called diavolini (little devils) that grow well in that region of Italy. Crushed red chile peppers give this sauce a better flavor than cayenne pepper but you may need to adjust the amount based on your tolerance for hot peppers. I choose to make this dish with shrimp instead of lobster.

Sauce:
2 (28-ounce) containers Pomi chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 bay leaves
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (8-ounce) bottle clam juice
¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt, taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Shrimp:
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 fresh basil leaves, torn into quarters
1 lb.spaghetti

In a Dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the bay leaves and stir them in the oil until they begin to brown, about 10 seconds. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the onions, carrots, and oregano. Cook the vegetables until they are soft, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent them from scorching.
Add the tomatoes, the tomato paste, salt and pepper, and clam juice.  Bring to a boil. Lower the heat, and simmer, partially covered until the sauce thickens, about 1 to 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick.  Remove bay leaves.
Cook spaghetti according to package instructions.

Stir crushed red pepper into sauce and lay the shrimp in the sauce, increase the heat to medium, and simmer until the shrimp turn pink, 4 to 6 minutes. Adjust the seasonings, add basil and serve over spaghetti.



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