Make Ahead

Spiced Shrimp in Lemon-Ginger Sauce

September 25, 2012
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Author Notes

This dish is a combination of two recipes. The spiced shrimp is my go-to recipe for a shrimp cocktail, which I learned many years ago from a Chinese cookbook by Sunset. It is delicious, aromatic, and with a pungent cocktail sauce makes a perfect appetizer. I usually make the second recipe, for the Lemon-Ginger Sauce, to serve over roasted or fried fish or chicken, and use chicken or fish stock for the liquid. I have to say that the idea to marry these two recipes and serve it hot as an entrée was a successful and a delicious one. You also can make this recipe with lobster tails, crab, or scallops. It's a saucy way to serve shrimp over pasta, white or brown rice, or just with fresh crusty bread for dipping and enjoying the wonderful sauce. —Kukla

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Kukla is a longtime Food52 member, and she has the swag to show it: twenty-four of her recipes are Community Picks and three of them are Contest Winners.
WHAT: A saucy way to serve shrimp over pasta.
HOW: Simmer shrimp with warm spices to make a stock, and then use that stock to make a lemony sauce. Toss the sauce with the shrimp and sop up every last bit with good bread.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Sauce, sauce, sauce! The shrimp and sauce combo sounded good, but I didn't realize just how good they would be together. You first taste the aromatics in the shrimp, followed by the buttery-lemony sauce, and end with a hit of heat from the cayenne. In order to get the smooth sauce in the photo, I had to strain the lemon-ginger combo after blitzing in the blender. The sauce was so good that I drank what was left in my bowl—all in the name of research, of course. —FrozenFoodie

  • Serves 4
  • For the Spiced Shrimp
  • 1 pound large raw shrimp, unpeeled
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 4 whole green onions, sliced in half
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 teaspoons whole peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • For the Lemon-Ginger Sauce
  • 2 large lemons, zested, white pith and seeds removed, thinly sliced
  • 1 inch of peeled ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup shrimp stock, divided
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Fresh herbs, chopped, for garnish
In This Recipe
  1. For the Spiced Shrimp
  2. Wash unpeeled shrimp; place in a small pan. Add all the other ingredients and barely cover with water, bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer just until shrimp turn pink, about 3 minutes.
  3. Cool in this stock; then remove, peel, and devein. Return to stock, cover, and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, strain, discard the aromatics, and save the liquid for the sauce.
  1. For the Lemon-Ginger Sauce
  2. Place lemon and ginger slices in a blender; add lemon zest and 1/2 cup of the shrimp stock. Purée until smooth.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat; add the puréed lemon-ginger mixture and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the remaining 1/2 cup shrimp stock, sugar, salt, and cayenne pepper; simmer for about 2 to 3 minutes. Blend the cornstarch with water; pour into saucepan and cook, stirring until sauce bubbles and thickens slightly.
  5. Mix in butter and then the drained shrimp to the sauce. Simmer for 30 seconds, just until the shrimp is warmed through. Sprinkle with any fresh herbs of your choice and serve over steamed white or brown rice, over pasta, or just with fresh crusty bread for dipping and enjoying the delicious sauce.

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