This recipe began on a family vacation when my family wandered into a Hot N Juicy Crawfish Restaurant. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this franchise, they serve crab or seafood boils which allow you to select from a variety of different seafood as well as flavors such as Garlic Butter, Cajun Style, and Lemon Pepper. In addition to selecting the flavor, or flavors, the intensity of the spice is available from mild to extra spicy. In the tradition of a low country boil, the entire thing is served up on paper topped tables and you eat with your hands. It’s a messy, but delicious, experience.
One evening while I was driving home from work, I was thinking about what would be good, easy, and quick to make for dinner. I try to plan ahead, but sometimes, life gets very hectic. I mentally inventoried the contents of my fridge and freezer. I realized that I had some leftover cooked rice, some frozen edamame, and about a pound of medium to large shrimp. The downside to the shrimp was that they weren’t peeled, and I was very hungry. Peeling the shrimp would take a lot of time. I didn’t want to spend a lot of prep time before I was able to serve dinner. That was when I remembered Hot N Juicy Crawfish. I didn’t have to peel the shrimp.
When I got home, I filled a pot with salted water and put it on the stove to boil for the edamame. I retrieved the still frozen shrimp, in their shells, and placed them in a colander balanced in a bowl filled with cold water to speed thawing. While I chopped the onions and other things that I would need for fried rice, I contemplated what would be the best flavors for my shrimp. I wanted something Asian inspired, but I wasn’t sure what. I considered terkiyaki shrimp, but I imagined the dark and sticky fingers everyone would have after peeling them. I also imagined dark and sticky finger smears on the wall between the dining room and the sink. I didn’t want to wipe down the walls, so I dismissed the idea.
I have a confession to make. I really love the choreography of getting a meal on the table all at once. It’s really like a well planned dance. It’s my play time after a long day at work. I can shed the day’s frustrations as I chop and slice. For me, preparing a meal isn’t frustrating or difficult. I love to experiment, and I don’t really worry about the outcome being perfect. As long as my family eats without too many complaints, I consider the meal a success. There have been a couple of times when a meal experiment has been such a disaster that we had to call for a pizza, but that hasn’t happened for a few years. The last disaster was so bad, though, that I am forever leery of trying any recipe that calls for peanut sauce. When your little one takes a bite and begins to cry, you know it’s bad.
So while I was meditatively chopping food, and considering options that might work well on my shrimp, I remembered an Asian Stir-Fry that my brother had told me about. It contained chicken, sliced onions, and sake. If you’ve never heard of sake, (pronounced Sock-Ay), it is an alcoholic beverage from Japan that is brewed from fermented rice. I even had an open bottle of sake on hand. I considered my options as I thought about a simple dish that I often make called Camarones al Mojo de Ajo. What if I switched up the flavors and combined the two dishes?
I consulted Baker’s Man. His response: “Sake it to me, Baby” in his best imitation of Austin Powers. Thus, the name for our Sake It To Me Garlic Shrimp. The entire dish, including chopping the garlic, came together in under 15 minutes. The shrimp sautéed in garlic butter and then steamed in the sake vapors. I still wanted to create a teriyaki type of flavor, but didn’t want to tint everyone’s fingers with soy sauce. I substituted salt for soy sauce, and just before turning off the stove, dressed the shrimp with a mixture of salt, sugar, and green onions. The resulting shrimp were tender and flavorful. Served up with a bowl of fried rice and the edamame, it made for a delicious meal. A little messy, as we peeled the shrimp with our fingertips and popped edamame out of their shells, but completely worth the mess.
Give the recipe a try and let me know what you think.
As always, thanks for visiting Patty Cake’s Pantry.
- 1 pound medium- large shrimp (25 or so shrimp per pound) heads and veins removed, but still in their shell.
- ¼ cup butter or olive oil (or a combination of the two)
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped (normal sized cloves, not elephant garlic)
- 2 tablespoons sake
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 2-3 green onions finely chopped (I used the green and the white parts)
- In a large skillet that has a lid, melt butter or heat olive oil over medium heat.
- Add garlic and saute for 1 minute or until it begins to soften. Be careful not to burn the garlic or it will become bitter.
- Add shrimp and stir fry for 1 minute.
- Add Sake, stir, and cover pan.
- Allow shrimp to steam for 1 minute or until shrimp are cooked. They will change from gray to pink.
- Remove lid, sprinkle with salt, sugar, and green onions. Toss together and serve.