The Free Range Gourmet Free range thoughts on the finest ingredients, cuisine, and fine dining in Hawaii.

Range Gourmet

  Local Hawaii ingredients used with an international flair

        ^BNanette^K^H (Gone but not forgotten) 1946-2020


Friday, May 20, 2011


Easy broiled shrimp with pesto

by Nanette Geller

A couple of weeks ago, I bought “colossal” frozen shrimp on sale. Words like “colossal” “jumbo” “medium” etc. have no real meaning for shrimp. These were “13/15” which means they run 13 to 15 shrimp per pound. Lower numbers mean larger shrimp, and these were quite large. They were also “easy peel” which means the shell was split along the back and the vein removed.

Since they were still frozen, I left them in the refrigerator to defrost slowly overnight. Defrosting them quickly, either in the microwave or under cold running water, results in significant loss of quality. Besides flavor loss, they get an unpleasant mushy texture. Defrosting them at room temperature risks spoilage as well as lower quality.

Even with the slow defrost, frozen shrimp can be improved by soaking briefly in cold, very salty water. It firms the flesh and brings out the shrimp’s naturally sweet taste. I soaked these for about fifteen minutes, then drained, rinsed, and patted dry. If they were smaller or without shells I would have soaked them only five to ten minutes. This should be done just before preparing them.


ebi with pesto


I marinated the shrimp for about twenty minutes with pesto (from J’s Seasonings) and olive oil (enough to make the pesto runny), then broiled them, turning once. Cooking shrimp with the shells gives me a little leeway on timing – shelled shrimp go from undercooked to overcooked in seconds. Shell-on shrimp also taste better and are fun to eat. Since these are split, some of the flesh is exposed so there’s plenty of contact with the marinade.

Roasted Yukon Gold potatoes (Milner Farm), sugar snap peas (Pit Farm), baby romaine (Otsuji Farm).

Hidden behind the water glass: the pan juices from the shrimp for spooning over or mopping up with bread; calamansi to squeeze over everything.

I am enjoying your blog and just jotted down your cottage cheese pancake recipe for my own experimentation!

About shrimp: Aren't they imported from Southeast Asia where they are unenvironmentally farmed, damaging mangrove forests, polluting the water, etc? According to all of the seafood watch organizations, imported shrimp is a red light choice.

I live on the mainland but regularly return to Hawaii to visit family and to research and write Lonely Planet's Hawaii books. When in Hawaii, I eat fresh-caught ahi and other local fish and don't bother with, say, salmon.

I also practice and teach Iyengar yoga, hence my own blog:

YogaSpy originally from Hilo

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