WINE WITH…Mermaid’s Imperial Delight
When leafing through an old microwave cookbook published by Matsushida in1983, I came across a shrimp-based recipe titled “Mermaid’s Imperial Delight.” It was this name rather than the recipe itself that inspired me to tweak my own version of “Mermaid,” substituting poblano pepper for the original green bell pepper, leaving out the mayonnaise that was in the original recipe, and adding a touch of garlic to the mix. According to the
1983 version of the recipe it was supposed to be cooked in a microwave oven, but I opted for the stovetop instead. The result was delicious.
Shrimp continues to be the number one seafood consumed in the US, in fact its consumption actually increased from 4.5 pounds to 4.6 pounds annually per person according to figures from the National Fisheries Institute (NFI). There are many reasons to love shrimp, including its mild, un-fishy flavor and satisfying texture. Shrimp’s versatility is impressive. It is tasty in oh-so-many dishes from shrimp cocktail, to fried shrimp, to shrimp fajitas to…well, Mermaid’s Imperial Delight.
Mermaid’s Imperial Delight
Keep in mind that since most shrimp you buy has already been frozen and thawed, so it is best to use it within a couple of days without refreezing it.
For this recipe I prefer medium shrimp, but no matter what size you buy it’s pretty easy to tell when the shrimp is cooked through: Raw shrimp starts off grayish and slightly translucent and as soon as they turn pink, with red tails, they’re done.
This dish is delicious just as it is but if you want to give it an extra little jolt of deliciousness, stir in a cup or so of crabmeat.
¼ cup minced poblano pepper
1tablespoon olive oil plus more for drizzling
4 tablespoons butter, mixed use
1 clove garlic, minced
About 10-12 raw small-to-medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup white wine
2 cups cooked white or brown rice
1 cup fresh or frozen peas, cooked
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Optional: ¼ teaspoon Vietnamese chili garlic sauce (or to taste)
Sauté the chopped pepper in the tablespoon of olive oil for a few minutes until it begins to soften. Stir in two tablespoons of the butter and the minced garlic and cook for another minute or so. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until they begin turn opaque and take on a rosy glow.
Remove the shrimp to a bowl and pour the wine into the skillet. Raise the heat and let the wine cook uncovered, for a few minutes until it has begun to reduce. Stir in the rice, the peas, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.
Return the shrimp to the skillet and continue simmering until the butter has melted and everything is fully warmed. Season to taste, drizzle a little olive oil over it all and serve immediately along with lemon wedges to be squeezed over individual portions.
This shrimpy dish is surprisingly flexible when it comes to wine. A good Chardonnay (not too oaky and not too boisterously fruity) or a Sauvignon Blanc (nicely balanced between fruit and acid) are obvious choices. For those who insist on red wine for every occasion, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend a big, muscular Cabernet but a discreetly balanced, flavorful Pinot Noir.
Duckhorn Vineyards, Napa Valley (California) Chardonnay, Huichica Vineyards 2017
($58): lemony and lightly spiced with oak, this Chardonnay offers plenty of texture and flavor without overwhelming the subtle nuances of the shrimp and other flavorful items in the dish.
Calvet, Bordeaux (France) “Limited Release” Sauvignon Blanc 2107
($17): This Sauvignon Blanc from France’s Bordeaux region offers good fruit flavors tempered by the sort of acidity that lifts the dish’s flavors like squeeze of lemon.
Steele, Carneros (Sonoma County, California) Pinot Noir 2016
($16): How about pairing a red wine with the dish? This California Pinot Noir has cherry and berry fruit flavors that are flavorful but won’t overwhelm the dish.