- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 2, 2004

ASSOCIATED PRESS

A delectable meal can be just one pan away when you have the right recipe and some cooking tips to ease the making of it.

The term “skillet dinners” covers a whole range of possibilities, including the following simple but tasty low-fat combination of shrimp and tomatoes.

The phrase is the title of a feature in the October issue of Everyday Food magazine that offers four recipes, including this one, plus tips and techniques.

Shrimp and tomatoes

The total time, including preparation, is 25 minutes.

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil

1 pounds medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed

Coarse salt and ground pepper, to taste

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

6 plum tomatoes, cored, halved lengthwise and sliced inch thick

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over high heat; swirl to coat pan. Season shrimp with salt and ground pepper. Add half the shrimp to the pan; cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate; repeat with remaining 2 teaspoons oil and remaining shrimp.

Reduce heat to medium; add garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir in tomatoes; cook until they begin to break down, 4 to 6 minutes. Season with salt. Return shrimp and any accumulated juices to pan. Add parsley and lemon juice; toss to coat. Serve over pasta, rice or spinach, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

ONE-PAN TIPS AND TECHNIQUES

Heating the oil: Always heat cooking oil in the pan before adding other ingredients, and swirl pan to coat bottom evenly.

The oil is hot enough when it sizzles when water is sprinkled in or when food is added. (To prevent splattering, tip pan away from you to allow oil to pool, and add food to side close to you.)

Searing meats: Browning, or searing, meat (including poultry and seafood) enhances its flavor and seals in juices. Let meat cook until it releases easily from the pan before turning; do not tear it loose. When some other ingredients are to be added, brown meat first, then remove from pan to prevent overcooking.

Deglazing the pan: After browning meat or other ingredients, pour off any oil and deglaze the pan by adding water, stock or wine, then stir with a wooden spoon to loosen the flavorful bits from the bottom. The liquid, bits and all, will be incorporated into the final dish.

Finishing the meat:Stir in seared or quick-cooked meat at the end of the cooking. This gives you more control over the degree of doneness.

Choosing the right pan: Even if a nonstick pan is called for, you can use a regular skillet if you prefer.

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