Frozen shrimp (Recipe: black bean and shrimp quesadillas)
One handy thing to know about frozen shrimp:
Most of the time, frozen shrimp is more fresh than the shrimp that looks fresh, sitting on ice in a glass case in your local seafood market (gasp). It's true. Nearly all the shrimp we buy (except for those very lucky souls who live in Maine or along the Gulf) is cleaned and frozen on the boats. Fresh shrimp has a very short shelf-life. In the fish market -- again, unless you are very lucky and live in fresh shrimp country -- the "fresh" shrimp is frozen shrimp that has been defrosted. When, exactly, was it defrosted? Today? Yesterday? Think about it; with shrimp in your freezer, you can defrost it minutes before you cook it. No more waterlogged shrimp.
Cooking or baking?
In the freezer, for up to nine months. Frozen shrimp have the added advantage of being marked by size; the number (21-25, 31-40, etc.) indicates the number of shrimp per pound.
Most of the time, I make quesadillas with super-low-carb oat bran tortillas, but when I saw these habanero-lime tortillas at Trader Joe's, I knew instantly that I had to fill them with black beans. It's the Halloween influence, I know! I continued the Tex-Mex theme with some store-bought reduced-fat Mexican shredded cheese blend, and some large shrimp from the freezer. If you're looking for the salsa, it's inside the quesadilla. Proportions aren't terribly important, and you can make these with any type of tortilla. And no, you do not need to oil the tortillas or the pan. Serves 2.
6 large (21-25 size) shrimp, defrosted
2 large (10-inch) tortillas, any flavor (I used spicy habanero-lime)
1/2 cup grated or shredded cheese, loosely packed (I use reduced-fat Mexican blend; Monterey Jack would be great, too)
1/4 cup cooked black beans (or canned beans, rinsed and drained)
2-3 Tbsp store-bought or homemade peach salsa
Place the shrimp in a glass or ceramic bowl, and microwave on high for 2 minutes or until the shrimp are pink. When they're cool enough to handle, peel, devein, and slice the shrimp in half through the slit in the back, to make two thin shrimp-shaped halves out of each shrimp.
Preheat a griddle, frying pan, or grill over low-medium heat.
Assemble your quesadilla: place one tortilla on the countertop. Spread half of the cheese, leaving half an inch border around the edge of the tortilla. Sprinkle the black beans here and there. Place the shrimp artfully around. Drizzle the salsa over everything. Top with the remaining cheese, and the other tortilla. Press down slightly to distribute the filling as evenly as possible.
Carefully transfer the quesadilla to the cooking surface. Cook until the bottom tortilla is lightly browned; if you lift the edge of the top tortilla, you should see melted cheese on the bottom. With a large spatula, flip the quesadilla, and cook on the second side until the tortilla is lightly browned.
Set the quesadilla on a cutting board, and let it rest for 5 minutes. Don't skip this step. With a large serrated knife, slice the quesadilla into six pieces. Serve warm.
Other recipes that use frozen shrimp:
Shrimp and artichoke pasta, from Simply Recipes
Garlic and rosemary roasted shrimp skewers with fuyu persimmon, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Jambalaya with shrimp, chicken, andouille, and ham, from Andrea Meyers
Garlicky shrimp and spinach bake, from Gluten-Free Goddess
Shrimp pasta in a foil package, from The Pioneer Woman Cooks