How to Trick Winter

Granted, the current situation seems to be hopeless.  The sun fades ever more deeply into the past – was it ever that warm, really? – and it’ll be months before things begin to thaw.  Yet, even now, the cold flees on spotting a means of vaulting us well beyond its grip…

Citrus!  If you can’t make it to the tropics, bring the tropics to you.  Yes, a burst of sunshine would be nice just about now.  Vibrant, energy-giving citrus.

Today’s offering provides it in glorious abundance, along with rice, avocado, shrimp, and other reminders the cold is only a temporary inconvenience, and that balmier days await.  Of course, Citrus Shrimp Rice Bowls are meant to put one in mind of precisely such things, and when Bon Appetit included the recipe in its November 2018 number, it was destined for greater fame and immortality.  Or these pages, at least.

The secret is in the sauce.  It sparkles with orange juice, which honey sweetens and soy sauce gives a savory and slightly salty kick.  Half of this marinates the shrimp, resulting in a burst of tangy sweetness and more than a little umami.  The rest of the marinade serves as dressing, and is drizzled over the citrus salad, avocado and rice.

This infuses everything with the citrus’s exuberance.  Each part of the rice bowl retains its character, from the avocado’s creaminess, to the shrimp’s cleanness, to the scallion’s zest, but the dressing pairs each with an irresistible gleam.

Winter descends, fully intent on doing its worst, and with one simple dish, July shines forth.  After all, the cold weather is on its way out, retreating with each day we lean closer to the sun.  Just when winter was sure it had triumphed, the kitchen pulls a trick like this.

*****

Citrus Shrimp Rice Bowls

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (*1)
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon honey (*2)
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon, plus one teaspoon, fresh lime juice
  • 1 and 1/2 pounds jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • salt
  • 2 large oranges, preferably of different varieties (*3)
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, quartered lengthwise and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • steamed rice and sliced avocado, for serving

Whisk orange juice, sriracha, honey, soy sauce, 1/4 cup of the oil and 1 tablespoon of the lime juice in a medium bowl.  Pour half into a separate bowl for serving.  Add the shrimp to the remaining sauce and toss to coat.  Let marinate for at least 15 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Remove the skins and pith from the oranges and cut them into pieces roughly 1 inch long and 1/2-inch thick.  Put these in a medium bowl and add the cucumbers, scallions and the remaining lime juice.  Season with salt.

Heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil in a larger skillet over high heat.  Cook the shrimp, flipping occasionally, until it’s charred in spots and cooked through, about three minutes.

Divide the rice into individual serving bowls and top each with some of the avocado, shrimp and citrus salad.  Drizzle with some of the reserved dressing and serve.

NOTES:

1 – For this, I juiced tangerines, as their juice is a little sweeter.  Why this is desirable (aside from the obvious reason) is explained in Note 3, below.

2 – Not a big deal, but when buying honey I chose orange blossom honey, as it matches well with the overall theme.  “Regular” clover honey is great too.

3 – The two varieties were tangerines and, as you can see, pink grapefruit.  That’s why I went with the slightly sweeter juice, to elevate the grapefruit’s flavor.

 

 

29 thoughts on “How to Trick Winter

  1. ooh even as a vego my favourite seafood was shrimp … we had a prawning license for years as a kid and teen and we were very good! We’d catch thousands and they are still my biggest temptation 🙂

    This dish is full of my favourite flavours and a great way to warm the heart in your winter … or tempt the taste buds in my summer 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice description, Kate, and I much appreciate the compliment!

      A promising reminder of your mental agility, and an inspiring testament to your empathy, that you can imagine the daydreams this inspires amidst northern snows. Right now, warm waters and citrus are thousands of miles away, making this week’s submission a welcome hint of distant delights!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is fabulous! Citrus fruits are my favorites in the middle of winter. A little taste of warmer climates while waiting for sunnier days ☀️ I don’t see grapefruit incorporated into meals like this too often but I absolutely *love* the idea! (I have been known to snack on plain, fresh grapefruit, so there is my biased opinion on the matter 😆)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Much obliged, Summer!

      As you know, Ruby Red grapefruit is more sympathetic than is the “regular” variety, Even so, a sweeter orange, like the Cara Cara in this week’s dish, is a nice supplement.

      You likely are aware (addressing instead outsiders reading this), consume soon after preparation. Citrus and shellfish mix beautifully at first, but after too long the fruit “cooks” the fish and makes it tough. Think ceviche.

      Inspiring when fresh, but don’t let it sit!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Citrus’s sunny glory, lofting us just when other produce seems to have abandoned the effort.

        We’ll remember this favor, citrus, and we’ll plant entire groves in your honor! Your juice will get its own case in our stores, and our dish soap will sing with your spirit, being a constant cheerful reminder of your benevolence!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!

      Ah, but you’ve forgotten the top hat. Add that to the ensemble and the neighbors’ tension dissolves. Don’t ask me why – that’s just the way it is.

      Anybody bent on stirring trouble anyway will reverse course when presented a bowl of this week’s transformative miracle. After all, who can be angry amidst summer’s balminess?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In another couple months, winter will have had enough of the ingratitude and it will leave in a huff.

        Problem is, the southern hemisphere does the exact same thing, and before you know it, winter’s our problem again.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sure, Tamara. Where it’ll stop, maybe nobody knows, but with each cycle, we come up with new and better ways of enduring it and surpassing it.

        Winter brings lemons, and we come up with more lip-smacking preparations for lemonade, grapefruit cupcakes (stay tuned!)…

        In fact, that’s one of winter’s perks – awesome citrus. Another one? How about coziness?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Citrus Shrimp Rice Bowl sounds like a good name for a football game. 🙂 🏈
    This dish sounds delicious and with many healthy ingredients although I would sub chix for the shrimpies. 🍗 😋

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good substitution, JoAnn! Of course I’d say that, as poultry obsesses me, after all.

      How sure are you that name isn’t taken already? As I recall, it’s something like the nation’s 1,765th-ranked club vs. a high school lacrosse team. They don’t even get a warm venue. Minot, ND, as I recall. No real prize for the winners either, other than the MVP gets to drive a 1979 AMC Gremlin for two minutes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Obsessed with poultry? Now that’s funny. Brings up images of people who have chickens as pets. Then again if a person has a pet chicken they may abstain from eating poultry.

        I think I will start the ball rolling (ha, ha) for the Citrus Chicken (because I don’t eat shrimp) Rice Bowl. Perhaps I will make tons of money. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. See, that’s your advantage, JoAnn, being in Florida and all. People will figure you possess the ultimate citrus knowledge and will invest enthusiastically in the project. Only upon reading the fine print will they realize the event actually is in North Dakota.

        By that time, you’ll be in Miami, counting their money, and wondering whether it’s enough to sustain a coconut palm plantation.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. oh funny I just finished scheduling my “is winter ever going to end???” customary post where I complain about winter. BUT. without winter. Would we ever REALLY enjoy a delight such as this one? This dish screams tropical paradise a thousand times more than Calgon ! Take me awayyyy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly, Daniela! How silken and honeyed the sweetness after a draught of lemon juice!

      How exuberant are the crocuses and daffodils emerging into the sunshine after we’ve seen nothing but slush, peeling bark and clouds for four months now?

      Sure, we could drop $4000 to jet off to Miami, Cancun or Punta Cana, but isn’t a trip to the produce department a bit more practical? Plus, we still have our dreams. Someday…

      Like

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