Do you ever like to pretend you are the star of your own cooking show? Sometimes I get in this mood in the kitchen where I want to have everything all set up, chopped and mixed in little bowls (my mise en place, if you will), before starting to cook. While a lot of the time this level of preparation isn't necessary, this is a dish where being on top of things helps a lot. So, play like you are Rachael Ray or Martha Stewart and prepare all of your ingredients beforehand.
As I mentioned before, I love to use Cooking Light as inspiration for recipes, but I rarely follow them to the letter. However, I did make the sauce exactly as it was called for in this recipe, except I used regular mayonnaise because (Surprise!), I don't have low fat. This sauce is wonderful, bursting with flavors, and I think it would be excellent on chicken, or as a dipping sauce of some sort.
The couscous is a favorite dish of mine, and I encourage you to try and find Middle Eastern or Israeli Couscous. I was thrilled to find it in my regular grocery store, in the Middle Eastern foods section. If you already like couscous, you will love this, and if couscous doesn't do anything for you, you might be pleasantly surprised. The texture is great and it takes on flavors excellently. Because the sauce in this dish is so piquant, I am making this as simply as possible, but you can definitely jazz it up with whatever spices you desire. I make a fabulous layered vegetarian dish with this couscous as a layer that I will have to make again sometime soon.
Crispy Shrimp with Ginger-Orange Sauce and Toasted Israeli Couscous
with help from Cooking Light Magazine
serves two hungry people, or 3-4 not so hungry people
for the sauce:
1 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1.5 Tbsp organic chicken stock
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp fresh lime juice
.5 tsp ground cumin
.25 tsp sea salt
.25 tsp cayenne pepper
for the couscous:
1 cup uncooked large pearl Israeli (or Middle Eastern) couscous
1.5 cups organic chicken stock, heated in the microwave until almost boiling
2 small shallots, halved and sliced thinly
fat pinch of sea salt
for the shrimp:
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 egg white, slightly beaten
.5 cup breadcrumbs (I recommend Panko, a Japanese breadcrumb, for its superior crunchiness)
1 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
.5 tsp grated fresh ginger
.25 tsp freshly ground pepper
small pat of butter (optional)
2-3 handfuls of baby spinach
1. To prepared sauce, bring orange juice to a boil in a small saucepan. Let it boil until reduced to 1/4 cup (at least 10 minutes), then remove from heat. Let cool (the juice should be thick and syrupy), then whisk the rest of the sauce ingredients in. Cover and set aside.
2. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over med-high heat in a large saucepan or frying pan with a lid. Add shallots and stir to coat, then add couscous. Stir the couscous in the hot oil, toasting the pearls evenly. Once the couscous is golden brown, add all of the hot chicken stock. Stir once, cover with the lid, and simmer on low for 15-18 minutes.
3. Reheat the sauce over low heat. Do not allow to boil, you just want it slightly warm.
4. Heat the remaining olive oil and optional pat of butter in a large frying pan. Combine shrimp and lightly beaten egg white in a bowl, tossing thoroughly to coat. Combine the breadcrumbs, remaining ginger, cilantro, and black pepper in a large ziploc bag. Shake to combine. Using a slotted spoon, add shrimp to bag. Seal the bag and give a good shake to completely coat the shrimp. Once coated, place in one layer in the pan. Cook about 2 minutes per side, until the shrimp are pink and the crust is golden brown.
To assemble, place a couple of scoops of the couscous in the middle of a large dinner plate. Level the pile with the back of a large serving spoon, then carefully pile the raw baby spinach on top of the couscous. Using a flexible spatula (so you don't tear the crust), pile the shrimp on top of the spinach. The idea here is for the heat of the couscous and shrimp to wilt the spinach. Then, drizzle the delicious sauce over the whole dish. Serve it up and watch everyone kvell over the flavor explosion--it's that good. The Mr. was yelling in from the other room (I was still fussing over pictures), "It's really, really good. It's, like, Top 10 good!" Once I sat down and took my first bite, I was happy to agree with my husband. This, my friends, is one stunner of a dinner. Enjoy!