Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. He has covered Health News for http://Examiner.com, and provided health and medical content for http://Sharecare.com. His work has appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate, among others.
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.