When I saw today's recipe for Shrimp Francese in the April issue of Food Network magazine, it was the spinach and tomatoes that caught my eye.
Several recipes in recent food magazines feature grape or cherry tomatoes and spinach. Many make use of cooked tomatoes because sautéing or even roasting grape tomatoes gives them an extra burst of sweetness.
And the spinach? Well, it's just a nutritional bonus. A dark leafy green, spinach is a good source of vitamins and minerals and is low in calories.
When it comes to shrimp, a 4- to 5-ounce serving goes a long way. A good source of protein, shrimp is categorized by how many are in 1 pound. The lower the number, the bigger the shrimp. Look for the count listed on the package or a label next to the price at seafood counters. Choosing which size to buy depends on how you plan to use or serve the shrimp.
For main-dish servings, I go with the larger, 16 to 21 count per pound. Nice and plump, they make a nice presentation.
Sometimes shrimp is labeled with terms like colossal, jumbo, extra-large, large, medium and small. I have found that when they are labeled that way, the sizes vary from store to store. For example, the original recipe called for 1 1/4 pounds extra-large shrimp or about 20 shrimp or five shrimp per serving. The shrimp labeled extra-large at my store had 26 to 30 per pound.
I opted for the jumbos at 16 to 25 per pound, and they were decent-size shrimp.
You can find most raw shrimp peeled and deveined. If they are not peeled, you might see the label EZ-Peel. This means that the shrimp are deveined and their shells are cut or split through the back, making them easier to peel.
If they are not, use a small pair of scissors to cut along the back through the shell and into the flesh so you can remove the dark vein. For this recipe, the shrimp are butterflied, so you'll want to cut a little deeper into the flesh along the back.
Francese in this recipe means "in the French manner" and refers to food that is usually dipped in egg and then in seasoned flour and fried to golden brown.
Serves 4. Adapted from Food Network magazine, April 2013 issue. Prep time, 15 minutes. Total time, 40 minutes.
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 20 shrimp)
3 large eggs