- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Even as you’re watching your food budget, you’ll discover some bargains in foods that are usually touted as indulgences. Take shrimp, for example.

Yes, it has the reputation for being an extravagance, and if you lust for fresh jumbo-size shrimp, be prepared to pay big bucks.

However, you can still find a good buy in frozen, cooked, peeled shrimp because you’re only paying for the edible shrimp, not the waste; you’re preparing just what you’d need for one meal, and you’re cutting cooking time.

Shrimp prices increase with the size of the crustacean, and it may be tempting to buy the smallest, cheapest shrimp in the freezer case. Unfortunately, the fingernail-sized baby shrimp often have a mushy texture.

Instead, opt for medium shrimp, which is firm, sweet, reasonably priced and versatile. Use this size for pasta sauce, stir-fry and salads.

The only downside to frozen shrimp is that it’s watery. That’s not a problem if you’re using the seafood in a cooked dish. The liquid will evaporate when you add the shrimp and heat through.

For salads, you’ll want to drain off the excess liquid. For best results, thaw shrimp several hours before you use it. Place the shrimp in a wire-mesh sieve, set it over a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate. Do this in the morning, and you’re set for dinner.

Shrimp is delicious in a simple salad of greens and an Asian-influenced salad dressing. Nuts bring a lively texture to the dish. Use almonds or pistachio nuts.

If you’d like to add pistachios, go to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Web site, www.fda.gov, to make sure the brand you’re buying hasn’t been tainted with salmonella.

Shrimp and salad greens

Makes 2 servings.

6 ounces cooked, frozen and thawed baby shrimp, well drained (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 ounce salted, shelled pistachios or almonds, coarsely chopped

2 scallions, trimmed and chopped

3 cups mixed baby greens

Soy-ginger dressing (recipe follows)

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine shrimp, nuts, scallions and greens in large salad bowl. Toss gently but well. Prepare soy-ginger dressing and spoon over salad just before serving. Season generously with freshly ground pepper. Toss gently but well.

Each serving (including the dressing) has: 255 calories; 16 grams total fat; 22 grams protein; 6 grams carbohydrates; 166 milligrams cholesterol; 555 milligrams sodium and 2 grams dietary fiber.

SOY-GINGER DRESSING:

1/4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root

1/4 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon canola oil

Combine ginger root, sugar, soy sauce and vinegar in a small cup. Stir well. Add oil and stir again.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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