Roasted Shrimp with Mexican Flavors

2 1/2 pounds 41-50 count frozen, peeled, and deveined shrimp; defrosted
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 small roma tomatoes; diced
1/2 medium onion; diced
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1 lime cut into thin slices
1 TBSP Olive oil
Mrs. Dash Chili and Lime seasoning (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place shrimp in a colander and toss with 1 1/2 tsp salt.  Let set for 20 minutes and then rinse and drain.  Toss tomatoes, onions, shrimp, and cilantro together with the oil and spices in a 9 x 12 casserole dish.  Lay sliced lime over the top and place dish into the oven.  Cook for 10 minutes and stir.  Cook for another 10 minutes, or until the shrimp translucent or cooked through.  Serve with fresh guacamole (Oleander made absolutely delicious guacamole using only fresh avocados, the juice of one lime, and salt to taste), tortilla chips, and Mango-Pineapple Salsa.

Dijon Fried Catfish

1 pound catfish fillets cut into even, good sized chunks
1 cup dijon mustard
1 cup corn meal
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

2 quarts Peanut oil for frying.

Heat oil in a heavy pot or dutch oven until oil is 350 degrees. Alternately heat oil in a deep fat fryer according to manufacturers instructions.

In a pie plate or shallow dish stir together corn meal and spices. Set aside.

Pat catfish nuggets dry with paper towels. Pour mustard into a large ziplock bag and add the catfish. Zip close and massage bag until fish is liberally coated with mustard.

Using tongs lift single pieces of mustard coated fish from baggie and dredge in corn meal mixture. Drop coated pieces into heated oil making sure not to add too many pieces of fish at a time as this will cause the temp of the oil to drop too drastically and will result in a greasy mess. Fry for approximately 3-5 minutes, or until nutty brown. You can test for doneness by pulling a piece of cooked fish apart to check that fish is cooked completely through. Drain on a wire rack over paper towels or on a paper towel lined cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining fish.

Southwestern Crab Cakes
24 ounces crab meat (you don't have to buy expensive crab for this at all)
2 stalks celery; minced fine
1/4 red onion; minced fine
1/4 cup cilantro leaves; chopped
1 small jalapeno; ribs and seeds removed and minced fine
4 TBSP mayonnaise
1 egg; lightly beaten
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs (found in the asian aisle)
Canola oil for frying

In a large bowl stir together celery, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, mayonnaise, egg, salt and pepper and 1/4 cup of the Panko. Add the crab and toss gently until just combined. Gently form balls about two and a half inches in diameter. Roll each ball in the remaining Panko crumbs until lightly coated. Transfer to a baking sheet covered in foil and gently press down to form patties about the size of your palm. This will make 12 patties. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. This will help set the patties, as they are very delicate and will have the tendency to break apart during cooking if they are not slightly frozen first. Heat enough oil in a heavy fry pan so that the patties will sit in oil about halfway up their sides while frying. Gently place 5 to 6 crab cakes in the hot oil and fry for 3 minutes. Turn very carefully and fry for about 2 more minutes. Remove and drain on a layer of paper towels. Repeat with remaining cakes. Squeeze a touch of lime juice on each crab cake. Serve with creamy chipotle sauce or jalapeno mayo (recipes follow)

Creamy Chipotle Sauce

4 Tbsp sour cream
1 Tbsp minced red onion
1 Tbsp minced cilantro
1 1/2 chipotle pepper packed in adobo sauce; minced fine
Small squeeze of lime

Stir all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to use.

Jalapeno Mayo

4 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp sour cream
1/4 pickled jalapenos; chopped

Stir all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to use.

Shrimp Po' Boys with Chipotle Mayo
makes 6 to 8 sandwiches

2 lbs large frozen shrimp; defrosted, peeled, cleaned, and tails removed
1 TBSP Salt
2 TBSP Old Bay or Cajun seasoning
1 cup cornmeal
Oil for frying
4 Crusty french flutes cut in half and then split and lightly toasted in the oven
1 cup mayonnaise
2 TBSP minced chipotle peppers packed in adobo sauce or 2 TBSP Smoky Tabasco
Juice from 1/2 lime
Sliced spicy pickled peppers

In a colander, toss shrimp with salt and allow to sit for about 5 minutes. Rinse and drain throughly, then toss with 1 TBSP seasoning of choice and allow to marinate for 15 minutes. Stir remaining seasoning into cornmeal and toss marinated shrimp to coat, shaking off excess dredge. Add oil to a large skillet so that it comes about halfway up the sides. Heat oil until a dusting of cornmeal added to the skillet begins to sizzle. Add shrimp in batches, being sure to not over crowd the pan and fry for about 2 minutes. Flip the shrimp and fry on the other side for another 2 minutes. Move to a paper towel covered plate to drain.

To make the chipotle mayo, stir together the mayo, chipotles, and lime juice, season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

To assemble sandwiches, spread the bread with a generous amount of chipotle mayo, fill with a portion of fried shrimp, dress with lettuce, tomato, peppers and pickles as desired.

Shrimp in Thai Red Curry

2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons lemon zest (a substitute for lemon grass)
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (found in the Asian foods section of your local grocery store)
4 bottles clam juice (chicken broth would be better, but it was a Lenten Friday for us)
2 14 ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk
2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water
1 can bamboo shoots drained and julienned
1 carrot julienned
1 red bell pepper julienned
10-15 cherry tomatoes
1/2 pineapple cut in to chunks
1 pound large frozen shrimp; defrost, peel, and clean
Salt to taste
Sticky white rice cooked according to package directions

Toss thawed shrimp with 2 teaspoons salt and set aside. In a large soup pot saute garlic and ginger in oil over medium heat until fragrant, about 30-45 seconds. Add lemon zest and red curry paste and saute another 30 seconds. Pour in clam juice and coconut milk and bring to a soft boil. Add cornstarch mixture. Reduce heat to med low and simmer about 15 minutes. Add bamboo, carrot, bell pepper, tomatoes, and pineapple and cook 5-7 minutes to soften just a touch. Add seasoned shrimp and stir, cooking gently until it is just cooked through 1 1/2 to 3 minutes. Taste curry and season as needed with more salt.

Using large soup bowls place a nice mound of sticky rice in the center of each bowl. Gently ladle curry around the rice and serve. Wingnut likes his curry on the spicy side so we serve an Asian spicy chili sauce on the side so he can spice it up to his liking.

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