I like my shrimp crusty crispy on the outside, just tender inside, and when served with a hot sweet-sour sauce incorporating caramelized onions, well does it get any better? This recipe comes from a wonderful cookbook which I like a lot, mostly because it gets into all those hot, wild flavors of the tropics, the spice zone. So I relate to that. And, the title is reflective, Big Flavors of the Hot Sun, by John Schlesinger and John Willoughby.
I served them originally with roasted buttrerball pumpkin, then decided they could use the intervention of noodles to wrap themselves and all that flavor around. The pumpkin still makes a good side though. And, since pineapples are not in season right now, but oranges and lemons are, I substituted. Anyway, here's the recipe...
Corn-crusted Panfried Shrimp with Sweet and Hot Caramelized Onionsadapted from Big Flavors of the Hot Sun, by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil
16 medium-size shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced, and then halved
1/2 cup orange juice (they used pineapple juice)
1/4 cup lemon juice (they used white vinegar)
2 tablespoons freshly crushed coriander seeds
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses (they used molasses)
1 small minced fresh red or green chili pepper (or to taste)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime or lemon, sliced (optional)
First off, get those onions sliced, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a saute pan and start them caramelizing over medium heat, until they begin to turn dark brown, (not black) 7 to 9 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Lightly dredge the shrimp in the mixture. In a large saute pan, heat the remaining olive oil over medium high heat until hot, but not smoking. Add the shrimp and fry until opaque inside, about 3-4 minutes per side. Turn off heat
When the onions are brown, add the fruit juices to the onions and cook, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes. Add the coriander, molasses, chili and cilantro, turn off heat, stir, season to taste, then toss with your pasta. Top with the shrimp, garnished with lemon or lime slices if you like or more cilantro. This is how the dish evolved for me. I used those Thai stir fry rice noodles. So, if you start them in some hot water at the beginning, they'll be ready by the time you've finished the rest. This is a carefully orchestrated production, but actually very easy.
It is my contribution to Ruth's ongoing Presto Pasta Nights, where Claire of Chez Cayenne is hosting, and it is linked as well to Hearth 'N Soul Blog Hop, co-hosted by Girl Chef. For some great and creative recipe ideas, go visit them.