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
- 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.
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.