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Five-Spice Shrimp & Vegetable Packets
Matthew G. Kadey
“Chinese five-spice powder makes this combo of shrimp, corn, snap peas and bell pepper sublime. Serve with quinoa or brown rice.”
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, (see Shopping Tip)
3 tablespoons rice wine, (see Shopping Tip) or dry sherry
1½ tablespoons honey
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder, (see Shopping Tip)
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, (optional)
1¼ pounds raw shrimp, (26-30 per pound; see Note), peeled and deveined
1 cup fresh corn kernels, (from 1 large ear; see Tip)
2 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine (or sherry), honey, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, five-spice powder and crushed red pepper (if using) in a large bowl. Add shrimp and mix well. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
2Preheat oven to 400°F (or see Grill Variation, below).
3To prepare packets, start with four 20- to 24-inch-long pieces of parchment paper or foil. Fold in half crosswise. With the parchment or foil folded, draw half a heart shape on one side as you would if you were making a Valentine. Use scissors to cut out the heart shape. Open up the heart.
4Combine corn with snap peas and bell pepper in a medium bowl.
5Using a slotted spoon, transfer one-fourth of the shrimp to one side of each open heart fairly close to the crease and leaving at least a 1-inch border around the edges for folding. (Reserve the marinade.) Place one-fourth of the vegetable mixture (about 1 cup) on top of each portion of shrimp.
6Close the packet to cover the ingredients. Starting at the top, seal the packet by folding the edges together in a series of small, tight folds. Twist the tip of the packet and tuck it underneath to help keep the packet closed. Place the packets on a large rimmed baking sheet (packets may overlap slightly). Bake until the shrimp are just cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. (Carefully open one package to check for doneness—be cautious of the steam.)
7Meanwhile, place the reserved marinade in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high and boil until reduced slightly, 3 to 5 minutes.
8Let the packets rest unopened for 5 minutes. Serve the shrimp and vegetables drizzled with the reduced marinade.
9Grill Variation: Cooking in packets is great for the grill, but it's not safe to put parchment paper over an open flame, so use foil. To prepare packets for grilling, start with eight 20- to 24-inch-long pieces of foil. Layer two sheets for each of four packets (the double layers will help protect the contents from burning). Arrange the ingredients on one half of each double layer. Fold the foil over the ingredients and tightly seal the packets by crimping and folding the edges together. Grill over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the packets to another spot on the grill about halfway through to ensure even cooking.
Equipment: Parchment paper or foil
Shopping Tip: Five-spice powder is typically made from fennel, cloves, peppercorns, star anise and cinnamon. It combines the five main tastes of Chinese cuisine: sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami. Find five-spice powder in the spice section or along with toasted sesame oil and rice wine in the Asian section of your supermarket or at Asian markets.
Note: To devein shrimp, use a paring knife to make a slit along the length of the shrimp. Under running water, remove the tract with the knife tip.
Kitchen Tip: To remove corn from the cob, stand an uncooked ear of corn on its stem end in a shallow bowl and slice the kernels off with a sharp, thin-bladed knife.
People with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity should use soy sauces that are labeled "gluten-free," as soy sauce may contain wheat or other gluten-containing sweeteners and flavors.