Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.
He is a member of both the National Writers Union, the International Federation of Journalists, and covers San Francisco Health News for Examiner.com.
As a kid, shrimp was one of my perpetual favorite foods. If something had shrimp in it, I'd probably eat try it. Shrimp is the reason I first tried gumbo, teriyaki, scampi, fried rice and coconut curry.
I think that the vast majority of my exposure to international cuisine came out of my love for the lowly, bottom-dwelling, water bug that is the shrimp. I still one them to this day. This recipe grabs them hot off the grill and tosses them into a pile of rice noodles in a delicious Southeast-Asian inspired sauce. This is a great way to dip your culinary toes in Asian waters without breaking the bank or freaking out the taste buds of more timid eaters.
14 ounces flat rice noodles
½ cup fresh lime juice
⅓ cup fish sauce
½ cup packed light brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 to 2 teaspoons Asian chili sauce (such as Sriracha)
1 pound medium-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 medium bunch asparagus, trimmed
5 ounces Shiitake mushrooms, trimmed
1 medium carrot, shredded
½ cup fresh cilantro
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Add the noodles and cook as the label directs; drain and rinse with cold water.
Meanwhile, whisk the lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, garlic, chili sauce and 1/3 cup water in a medium bowl. Transfer 1/4 cup of the marinade to another bowl and toss with the shrimp. Toss another 1/4 cup marinade with the asparagus and mushrooms in a third bowl. Let the shrimp and vegetables marinate 10 minutes at room temperature. Toss the noodles with the remaining marinade.
Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high. Grill the shrimp, asparagus and mushrooms until the shrimp is just cooked through and the asparagus is slightly tender, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Halve the mushrooms and cut the asparagus into pieces. Stir in the noodles and cook another minute or two, stirring well with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking.
Divide the noodles among bowls and top with the shrimp, asparagus, mushrooms, carrot and cilantro.