No matter how gray a day it’s been, coming home to a dinner of beautifully pink and gold shrimp paired with sweet peas, fresh scallions and ginger medallions is a visual treat. The simple salting and rinsing of the raw shrimp gives them a firm texture. This recipe, which first appeared in Bon Appetit five years ago, gives credit for the name of the dish to the crystal-like texture of the shrimp. I would also have to say that there is a crystal look to the shrimp as well. There’s not a lot of prep time involved in this recipe however it does require a 1 to 3 hour rest period for the shrimp once they’ve been battered with cornstarch and egg white. While that was going on, I took a look at the history of the Shrimp and another look at where mine come from, that marvel of food shopping, Costco.
In a kind of believe it or not, the shrimp’s name is derived from a Middle English word ‘shrimpe’ which meant ‘pygmy’. This of course could lead to an entire discussion on the dichotomy of the words “Jumbo Shrimp” and doesn’t really give a satisfying answer to why someone would pick up a shrimp and think “Pygmy!” Putting that aside, shrimp has been around for a very long time. The Chinese were eating shrimp in the 7th century. And when Marco Polo arrived in China in 1280, he commented on their abundance in food markets. This country, however, has long held the record for shrimp eating. In the 17th century, Louisiana’s bayou residents were hauling in shrimp in giant seines that were up to 600 feet in circumference! And there were no mechanical devices involved at all – just human labor. It wasn’t until 1917 that mechanized shrimping arrived. And with it came some unfortunate side effects.