Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Spiced Shrimp Skewers with Clementine Salsa

Who doesn't love clementines?  I had to laugh the other day when, arriving at my sister's house, I noticed several boxes of clementines.  "They sell out so fast as soon as they hit the grocery stores," she lamented, and I nodded knowingly.  Get 'em while you can, because the boxes of this mini member of the citrus family won't last long.  The easiest way to enjoy a clementine, of course, is simply to peel and eat, but here's a slightly more intricate suggestion: a fancy clementine salsa paired with vegan shrimp.

For the shrimp:
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • Dash of ground nutmeg
  • 36 Vegetarian Plus shrimp, thawed
  • Cooking spray
For the salsa:
  • 6 peeled and sectioned clementines (about 3 and 1/2 cups)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups peeled and chopped jicama
  • 1 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 seeded and finely chopped serrano chiles*
1. Combine all the ingredients for the shrimp except the cooking spray in a bowl, and toss to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.

2. Thread 3 shrimp on to each of 12 (6-inch) skewers.  Grill on an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan coated with cooking spray for 3 minutes on each side.

3. Meanwhile, prepare the salsa: combine all of the salsa ingredients, stirring well to combine.  Serve with the shrimp.

I recommend serving with hot cooked rice as a cooling contrast to the heat of the spices. 

*If you prefer an even more fiery salsa, leave the seeds in the serranos.

Nutrition Info:
6 servings (2 shrimp skewers, about 2/3 cup salsa), Calories 135

Tasting Notes:
There is a lot of flavor going on in this dish.  Starting with the shrimp: great toasty, earthy spices, verging on too hot but just right.  Definitely mellowed when served over rice.  The serranos in the salsa were spicy, but tempered nicely by the sweet, fruity burst of clementine.  I didn't like the red onion in the salsa and would leave it out, but enjoyed the water chestnut-like crunch of the jicama.

What I'm not sure about is that the shrimp and salsa were good compliments to each other.  Both had such intense flavor that the overall effect was actually decreased when combined.  I would serve the shrimp over rice for dinner one night, and enjoy the salsa in a separate application - a yummy light lunch with a salad and bread comes to mind.

And in the meantime, I'll be peeling and eating clementines as a snack.


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