Shrimp is a highly versatile seafood. Despite its relatively high cost, many people can afford shrimp on an occasional basis. As a low-calorie, high-protein food, it works with many nutrition plans in addition to being a tasty meal option. The best ideas for shrimp dinners are highly subjective but can include simply pan-frying the shrimp in basic herbs or preparing a marinade and serving with a basic side dish.
Shrimp dinners are simple to cook, even for kitchen novices. Beginners should cook shrimp on low heat and plan to simmer them until they are done. Cooked shrimp is translucent. The meat of the shrimp should turn white but not a full, thick white. An opaque white color means the shrimp is overdone.
For beginning cooks, the easiest way to make shrimp dinners is to add a bit of olive oil or butter to a skillet. Allow the oil to heat or butter to melt while you toss the shrimp. To toss shrimp, put a very small amount of oil into a bowl with some herbs and spices; add the shrimp and then mix them with your hands or a spoon to coat the shrimp. The coating can be Italian herbs, such as a basil, thyme and rosemary mix, or a single spice, such as red pepper, that will give a zing to the shrimp. Place the shrimp into the skillet in a single layer and cook for six to 10 minutes.
Preparing a marinade gives shrimp dinners a fuller flavor than simple pan-frying and, for cooks who plan a bit more, a marinade makes a tasty shrimp dish. Store-bought marinades are easiest for people just learning to cook. For others, mix some type of oil or vinegar with a good collection of flavorings. These flavorings can range from lemon juice to soy sauce.
Allow shrimp to sit in the marinade for no more than an hour before cooking. Shrimp absorb flavors quickly, so a longer marinating time will make the flavor too strong for most diners. Marinated shrimp can bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Other options are to drain the marinade and boil the shrimp or to pan-fry it.
Regardless of how the shrimp is cooked, completing the meal simply involves making a salad or steamed veggies and adding a basic side dish. Steaming broccoli, cauliflower or carrots adds a freshness to the shrimp. Buttered pasta, rice pilaf or even a garlic breadstick makes the meal complete while allowing the shrimp’s taste to dominate the dinner.