- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 26, 2006

New Year’s Eve always meant shrimp in my family.

Although I have no memory of how that tradition began, we clearly had defined roles in getting dinner on the table. Mom braved the throngs to buy the shrimp that afternoon. My great-grandmother and I shelled them. My father steamed them.

Then we ate them drowned in what now seem like vats of melted butter.

There was nothing else to the meal. No starters, no vegetables, no bread. Just pounds of shrimp and sticks of butter. We usually waited a respectable amount of time (20 minutes?) before divvying up an ice-cream cake four ways.

And we wondered at our mutual weight problems.

Hoping to introduce my toddler to this tradition without sending him down the same weight path I traveled, I started searching for basic shrimp recipes biased to the leaner side. I wanted flavor, but I didn’t want to sacrifice simplicity and ease.

My answer was a recipe for spicy citrus shrimp from Dr. Arthur Agatston’s recent cookbook, “The South Beach Diet Parties and Holidays Cookbook” (Rodale). I liked this recipe because rather than mask the flavors of the shrimp with strong seasonings, it underscores them with a fresh citrus marinade. The shrimp also can be prepped the day before, leaving even less work for the big night.

Although written as an appetizer (it makes 10 three-shrimp servings, enough for about two main servings), the recipe would be simple to double or triple.

Spicy citrus shrimp

This recipe from “The South Beach Diet Parties and Holidays Cookbook” takes 50 minutes from start to finish.

1 lemon

1 navel orange

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

30 medium shrimp, peeled and veins removed


Zest the lemon and half of the orange and place the zest in a medium bowl.

Peel both pieces of fruit, then finely chop half of each. Place the chopped fruit in the bowl with the zest and reserve the remaining halves.

To the bowl, add the oil, garlic, black pepper and pepper flakes. Mix well.

Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Cover and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes or refrigerated overnight.

Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Remove the shrimp from the marinade, allowing bits of citrus to stick.

Discard the marinade. Season the shrimp lightly with salt and grill until opaque and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.

Use the reserved halves of lemon and orange to squeeze a bit of juice over the shrimp just before serving.

Makes 10 three-piece servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 60 cal., 4.5 g total fat, 25 mg sodium, 4 g pro., 2 g carbo., 0 g dietary fiber.

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