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Network : Fresh Tastes
: May 2001
Shrimp & Prawns
- No Small Fry in Flavor
I admit it.
I love shrimp. Grilled, shish-kebobed, steamed or sauteed they're
all delicious. I especially favor the sweet flavor and firm texture
of wild net-caught shrimp. Farm raised and frozen shrimp is available
in supermarkets year-round but the more flavorful wild variety is
especially plentiful during the late spring and summer. Now is a
good time to find them in seafood markets while there is a bountiful
high in cholesterol (about 20 grams of it in each extra-large shrimp),
shrimp is surprisingly low in fat overall. A serving of shrimp actually
has only about one-third the total fat of the widely publicized
lean-queen of meats, skinless chicken. I try to eat healthy, but
every now and then I just have to indulge in some tasty shrimp....
to heck with the cholesterol!
Now that the
weather is warm, I like grilling shrimp on kabob skewers laced alternately
with bell pepper chunks. Steamed small shrimp are delicious when
added to a green salad and tossed with some chopped black olives
and a bit of dried herbs. Shrimp cooked along with some fresh chives
in a little olive oil makes a wonderful and simple summer dish when
served with barbecued corn.
Here is a luscious
shrimp dish adapted for bladder-friendliness from a recipe by Mayi
Brady (Los Angeles Times, July 19, 2000). Rice pilaf or crusty french
bread partner well with the shrimp and pungent herbs.
2 pounds fresh
or frozen jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (optional)
1-1/2 teaspoons onion salt
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
3 tablespoons margarine
2 tablespoons minced garlic
shrimp under warm water a few minutes if frozen, otherwise just
rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Combine the pepper, onion salt,
thyme, allspice and rosemary in a small dish or resealable plastic
bag. Rub the spices into the shrimp, then seal the shrimp and spices
in the plastic bag and refrigerate about 30 to 45 minutes. Melt
the margarine in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the garlic,
stirring until tender, about a minute. Add the shrimp and spices
to the garlic and cook, turning the shrimp until pink and thoroughly
cooked about 3 minutes.
for Buying Shrimp
To be sure your
shrimp is bladder-safe and top-quality (the only kind you'd want
to eat) it's important to buy from a reputable merchant. You don't
want shrimp caught in polluted waters or that which is old and on
its way to spoiling. Whether you buy it fresh or frozen, in a package
or by the pound, shrimp shouldn't smell fishy.
develop unappetizing-looking black spots when exposed to air and
worse yet, the safety and quality can suffer quickly if shrimp isn't
properly chilled. Many merchants or fishermen will treat the shrimp
with a solution of bladder-provoking sulfites or phosphates to prolong
its salability and fresh appearance. If a sign isn't posted, be
sure to ask. By U.S. law consumers are supposed to be warned about
added sulfites, and regulations require that the phosphate solution
can't exceed 10 percent. But it pays to ask. A little paranoia can
go a long way too in preventing bladder symptom flare-ups. Even
if the shrimp are excellent quality and supposed to be preservative-
free, I always wash them under running cold water before cooking,
just to be super-safe. I've never suffered a flare-up from preservatives
or quick-frozen just-off-the-boat shrimp gets you flavor at its
peak, and its best to eat them the same day. If you can't, and must
freeze them at home, here is a glaze that helps preserve any kind
of frozen fish or seafood and washes off easily when its time to
prepare dinner: combine a quarter-cup of lemon juice and 1-3/4 cups
of water in a saucepan. Scoop out about half a cup of the mixture
and dissolve a package of unflavored gelatin in it. Bring the rest
of the liquid to boiling. Pour in the dissolved gelatin and stir.
Remove from the heat and let cool. Dip your seafood in the glaze
and freeze as quickly as possible. Shrimp, unlike many fish, can
be frozen and refrozen safely. But its not a good idea to do it
at home if you don't have to.
in the fishing industry will tell you that prawns are a separate
species from shrimp, while others will tell you they are interchangeable
names for the same species. This controversy has gone on for years
and isn't likely to be settled soon. But in general, restaurants
and merchants will often refer to the largest shrimp as prawns,
or use the terms interchangeably. And speaking of size, how many
shrimp should you buy for each serving? Well if you buy them unpeeled,
figure about one-third to one-half pound of shrimp per person. If
you get them already peeled and deveined, then one-quarter to one-third
of a pound per person is sufficient. By the way, a quarter-pound
of deveined, peeled shrimp cooks up to about three ounces the weight
that the US Department of agriculture considers a standard "serving"
for meats and seafood.
Seafood and Unusual
Unless you have
an allergy to fish or shellfish, (assuming you wash off any preservatives)
chances are seafood won't give you bladder trouble. Most IC patients
find it very safe. But if you ever experience an intense bladder
flare-up from eating seafood you don't normally react to, here's
a tidbit of useful information. A recent issue of the Journal of
the American Medical Association featured a study that makes an
important point about tuna and other seafood: contaminated or aging
seafood can contain high levels of histamine, an inflammatory substance
that is capable of irritating sensitive IC bladder mast cells. The
histamine can also set off allergies and cause serious symptoms
of histamine poisoning in people with certain heart conditions.
This can happen even when the food is not spoiled sufficiently to
be obviously old and smelly or cause gastrointestinal upset.
created in seafood when bacteria convert an amino acid histidine,
into histamine. Tuna is particularly vulnerable to this process
because the animal typically has more bacteria to start with when
it is caught. Also, meat from the belly of the fish (normally used
to make tuna burgers or steaks) can easily become contaminated with
bacteria from the fish's gut during processing. Storing seafood
on ice and keeping it properly refrigerated prevents the development
of histamine. According to ABC News (ABCNews.com, March 19, 2001),
the JAMA article's author (Karen Becker, an official at the Centers
for Disease Control) is calling for development of a quick test
for histamine in seafood so that local health departments can more
easily monitor the safety of food at docks and restaurants. If the
test does become publicly available (and simple and cheap), it might
be a boon to IC patients too-- especially those who are wary of
eating at restaurants or trying new food sources.
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