Shrimp teams up with spices from the Middle East

March 13, 2002|By Carol Mighton Haddix | Carol Mighton Haddix,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Shrimp, though a pricey option, is one of the fastest-cooking entrees for weekday cooking. Whether it comes from your freezer or the fishmonger, it cooks in just a few minutes. In fact, you'll want to cook shrimp only until it turns pink. Cooking it any longer will result in tough, chewy morsels.

The recipe here teams the seafood with classic Middle Eastern spices for a quick marinade and then spoons it over another quick-cooking ingredient, instant couscous. A sliced beet salad is one side option, using bottled pickled beets or plain, according to your taste.

Middle Eastern Shrimp With Almond Couscous

The seasoning paste also is good for fish fillets and chicken breasts.

Makes 4 servings

4 green onions, coarsely chopped

3 cloves garlic, halved

1/2 cup cilantro sprigs

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon white wine or lemon juice

1 teaspoon each: hot or sweet Hungarian paprika, ground cumin, freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pound raw shrimp, shelled, deveined

1 small package (3.5 ounces) slivered blanched almonds

1 box (10 ounces) instant plain couscous

Preparation time: 20 minutes; cooking time: 20 minutes

Place onions, garlic, cilantro, oil, wine, paprika, cumin, pepper and salt in food processor container. Pulse until onions are finely chopped. Toss shrimp with paste mixture in medium bowl. Let stand 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat large, heavy skillet over medium heat; add almonds. Cook, stirring occasionally, until almonds are lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Remove to bowl; set aside. Cook couscous in saucepan according to package directions. Keep warm.

Heat same skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and paste to skillet; cook, stirring, just until shrimp turns pink, about 5 minutes. Stir almonds into couscous; fluff with fork. Place couscous on platter. Top with shrimp mixture.

Per serving: 565 calories; 34 percent of calories from fat; 21 grams fat; 2.5 grams saturated fat; 160 milligrams cholesterol; 490 milligrams sodium; 63 grams carbohydrate; 32 grams protein, 6 grams fiber

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