Saturday, July 29, 2006

Cayenne Shrimp & Fried Green Tomatoes

The sticky heat making its way through the east coast brings me memories of the south. Even though the most south I have been is the northern reaches (Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia and Florida), I hold images of sweeping porches, ice cold lemonade, rocking chairs and the tales of my Georgia-living friend. Complementing these images is the lemon meringue pie recently whipped up and rounding off the stereotype, I’ll add today’s fried green tomatoes and cayenne shrimp.

This simple meal kept us out of the kitchen, with the longest moment being the wait for the oil to heat up. It has already been repeated this summer, and will be made many more times for sure—it’s too easy and delicious not to indulge. The heat of the shrimp is cooled by the sweet tomatoes and when served with a cold white wine, this meal is perfection. The combination would stun eaters into awed delight on a sandwich (with the addition of arugula, avocado or perhaps some spicy mayonnaise or mustard).

So while I anxiously await my own tomatoes to ripen on the vine (I spied them yellowing at the edges today), I’ll enjoy these greenmarket finds.

Serving Size= 2 persons. Active time= 15 minutes. Inactive time= 8 minutes.
* 2 large green tomatoes
* 1 cup 2% or whole milk
* 1-½ cups flour
* ½ Tbl paprika
* 2 tsp salt
* 1 tsp pepper
* vegetable oil

1) With a sauce pot, or deep skillet, on high heat, fill oil 1-inch up the sides of the pan. Slice the tomatoes into ¼-inch thick discs.
2) Place milk in one shallow bowl and flour, paprika, salt and pepper in another.
3) Dredge the tomato slices in the milk. [At this time you can start the Cayenne Shrimp; below]
4) Once oil is hot, transfer tomatoes to the dry ingredients and coat both sides. Transfer to oil and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes each side.
5) Remove the tomatoes from the oil once done and transfer to a paper towel covered plate. Sprinkle with a little more salt/ pepper and serve.

Serving Size= 2 persons. Active time= 8 minutes.
* 1 pound large fresh shrimp, cleaned and de-veined
* 1 Tbl butter
* ½ Tbl cayenne pepper
* 1 tsp celery seed
* juice of 1 lime
* hot sauce to taste
* salt/ pepper to taste

1) In a large skillet on medium-high heat, melt butter.
2) When nutty smell of butter comes out, add shrimp and toss in pan to coat
3) Add remaining ingredients and toss again to coat.
4) Cook shrimp about 3 minutes each side, until pink and curled.

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