Thursday, October 11, 2012

Shrimp Stir Fry with Zucchini and Tomatoes

Plate of Stir Fried Shrimp with Zucchini and Tomatoes
Shrimp with Seasonal Veggies

Recipe adapted from Weight Watchers

Shrimp! So delicious and healthful, and so confusing to buy sustainably. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch website identifies 13 different categories for shrimp harvests, varying in country of origin and fishing method. Plus there are several species in each category. Sometimes a species can have several common names, and sometimes you’ll find a common name at the store that’s not on the list at all. What’s a consumer who’s concerned about eating shrimp sustainably to do?

Shrimp in Wok with Tomatoes
Go for Sustainably Sourced Shrimp
First of all, unlike salmon, shrimp are farmed both sustainably and unsustainably. US and Thailand grown farmed shrimp, raised in closed systems that don’t leach debris into the environment, are good choices. This includes the Giant River Prawn, a freshwater species farmed in the US, which is a best choice. Avoid shrimp that is farmed in other countries including Mexico, where the coastal environment is destroyed in making the farm, and polluting waste is washed into the ocean when the farm is operating. Black Tiger shrimp, a popular large species, is unsustainably produced and best avoided.

Basket of Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Fresh Oregano
Other Active Ingredients: That's Italian!
A variety of shrimp are wild-caught, and most of these are best choices or good alternatives, but ONLY if caught in the US or Canada. Bay shrimp, rock shrimp, white shrimp, ebi, spot shrimp (or amaebi) are good choices. Imported wild caught shrimp are best avoided. These are caught by dredging, which ruins the coastal environment for a long time after the harvest. Imported wild species to avoid include white shrimp, ebi, and black tiger shrimp (avoid the latter altogether).

Bowl of Shrimp Stir Fry
Colorful, Delicious, Sustainable
To purchase sustainable shrimp, print out the MBA Seafood Watch list and bring it to the store or fish market. Ask questions about sustainability of species that you don’t see on the list. By doing a bit of detective work, you’ll be able to make the most sustainable choice. By the way, this is much easier to do in a store than a restaurant, so do consider preparing them at home. Some fish markets color code their seafood for sustainability, so look for the green flag and avoid the red. When you find a sustainable source and product, stick with it and recommend it to others so the store will continue to stock it.

Husband making sitr fry on antiquated stovetop
Bruce Stir-frying, Despite Funky Electric Stovetop
A few recipe notes: Assemble all of your ingredients before starting to cook. Cooking time is short, and overcooking tomatoes and especially shrimp makes this dish much less pleasant. Use a wok or other pan that maintains a high, even heat. Uneven heat often results in overcooking. If you’re serving this with pasta or rice, cook that completely before starting to cook the shrimp dish. I sliced the zucchini thinner than the original recipe so it would cook faster, and altered the recipe to a classic stir-fry. I also eliminated the large amount of salt and water, and substituted a bit of mildly salty broth. You may use dried oregano instead of fresh if you reduce the quantity to ½ tsp. and add it with the tomatoes.

If you’re not too familiar with stir-frying, you might want to read hubby Bruce’s Tips for Stir-fry Success before giving this dish a whirl.

Plate of Shrimp, Zucchini, and Tomatoes with Pasta
Served with Spinach Linguini
Shrimp with Zucchini and Tomatoes
serves 4

1 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1¼ lb. zucchini, cut into 1/8 inch slices
1 lb. large uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
2  cups grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1½ tsp. chopped, packed fresh oregano
1 - tsp. pressed garlic
2 tbsp. chicken or veggie broth
¼ tsp. black pepper, or to taste

For best stir-fry results, dry off shrimp and zucchini with towels.

Heat 2 tsp. olive oil over high heat in a wok. Add zucchini to wok. Stir-fry until slightly browned, about 3 minutes, tossing very frequently.Remove zucchini from wok to plate.

Heat remaining 1 tsp. olive oil in wok. Add shrimp and saut̩ 1 Р2 minutes, tossing frequently. Add tomatoes. Saut̩ till shrimp are almost cooked through (it will be only slightly translucent in spots), about 1 more minute.

Stir in garlic, broth, oregano, and pepper. Continue heating, stirring to loosen browned bits from the bottom of the pan, 1 – 2 minutes, until shrimp are cooked and tomatoes are softened. Don’t overcook!

Remove wok from heat. Add cooked zucchini to wok. Toss. Remove veggies and shrimp to serving dish but leave liquid in wok.

Boil liquid over high heat until thickened and about half volume, stirring constantly, about 1 – 2 minutes. Pour thickened sauce over shrimp and vegetables and serve.

You might want to serve this dish over pasta or rice. Rice noodles are a particularly complimentary accompaniment.


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    Beef Stir Fry

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