• Honeyed 5-Spice Chicken Wings

  • Yi Mein

  • Spinach Pesto Quesadilla

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pan-Seared Shrimp with Sesame Peanut Salad

Sadly, this Valentine's Day themed post is nearly one month overdue.  No matter, the tardiness is quite fitting, considering that I'm not so crazy about VDay hype.  While I love any excuse for a nice restaurant outing, I'm not one for demanding chocolates or presents, except in jest (Oh Buddy, look, a jewelry sale*). Because really, who wouldn't prefer being romantic and appreciative every day instead of just once a year?  And what better way to show your love than with a home-cooked meal on a regular, ordinary-turned-special night?

The added bonus of this meal is that thanks to some Martha Stewart craftiness, you can finally repurpose that romaine lettuce stump.  Need a Valentine's Day (or other) card?  No problem--just have salad the night before!

Pan-Seared Shrimp and Sesame Peanut Salad
Adapted from my mom
Total Recipe Cost: $12.74 for 4 servings!

Usually, I make these shrimp on their own, seared with crispy ginger and garlic, then tossed with barely cooked slivers of scallions.  With its savory saltiness and sweet succulent flesh, these shrimp need no accompaniment; I’ll admit that the lettuce here was just a sneaky ploy to have a lettuce stump for card-making.  In truth, the delicate and subtle flavor of the shrimp can stand on its own, and doesn’t need to hide beneath peanut sesame dressing.  That being said, the lettuce and cucumbers do add a refreshing, healthful crunch, and I’m never one to say no to more vegetables!

4 cloves of garlic
1 small piece of ginger
1 lb jumbo shrimp, deveined
1 head of romaine lettuce
1 cucumber

Finely mince garlic and ginger, and then set aside to fry up with the shrimp.   

Heat a skillet on high for a few minutes.  Meanwhile, rinse the shrimp, then pat dry with paper towels.  Turn the heat down to medium, and place shrimp in the pan, without oil.  Depending on their size, sear the shrimp until they’re fully cooked, flipping once.   For my enormous prawns (16 per lb, shell on), it was approximately 3 minutes per side, but I generally just judge by appearance; once cooked through, the shrimp flesh should lose its translucence.  In the last few minutes of cooking, add some oil and the minced garlic and ginger, so it can get crispy.  Once done, set the shrimp aside to rest and cool slightly. 

Wash and chop the lettuce into bite-sized pieces (reserve the end of the lettuce stump for some arts n’ crafts, above, if desired).   Thinly slice the cucumbers, and toss with the lettuce.  Top the salad with the ginger-garlic shrimp, and drizzle with Peanut Sesame Dressing (below).  Enjoy with a glass of wine, and your special Valentine!

Unit Cost
Total Cost
16 large shrimp
1 small piece of ginger
Several cloves of garlic
1 head of romaine lettuce
1 cucumber
$0.49 each
Peanut sesame dressing
(see below)


Sesame Peanut Dressing
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Total Recipe Cost: $3.51 for 1.5 cups!

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup water

Pulse everything together in a food processor until smooth.  Store in the refrigerator for future salads!

Unit Cost
Total Cost
½ C peanut butter
¼ C soy sauce
¼ C water
2 T rice vinegar
3 T sesame oil
2 T honey
1 t red pepper flakes



Questions about the "Total Recipe Cost"?  Click here!

*Who buys a ring that costs as much as a house??  And why is it being sold at Costco??  More absurdly, I saw another ring at Costco that was several million dollars.  And someone bought it.