This is what I've discovered about Mark Bittman -- his recipes tend to be hit or miss. The ones that are good -- are really quite good, like his Creamy Peanut Chicken Stew, which makes my mouth water. But there are countless others that I've snipped out of the Times with high hopes, only to discard due to so-so results. And you don't really know until you try because the way he words his descriptions make me so excited to try all of them. But, in my experience, the more simple ones (five ingredients or less) tend to disappoint more.
Such is the case with the shrimp. First, I tried his Shrimp-Deviled Eggs (cut from the Times), which Michelle sampled and gave a rave review. They're really rather excellent and we couldn't stop popping them into our mouths. I love deviled eggs period. But the addition of shrimp and olives -- it just kicks the flavor up and is unexpected. My mom made these (to excellent reviews as well) and thought the olive oil, mayo combination made the yolk mixture creamier.
Onto the second Bittman shrimp recipe. My friend Destiny came over last week and I made Mark Bittman's "Shrimp, My Way" from his book, "How to Cook Everything." On the stovetop, I sauteed garlic in a layer of olive oil. Then, I sprinkled paprika and chili powder into the mix and added two pounds of shrimp in the pan. The pan goes straight into the broiler for 5 or so minutes. I was convinced the garlic slivers would burn in the broiler but Mark was right and it didn't. The shrimp were okay but not mind-blowing. Chalk this into the "Don't Try a New Recipe When Guests Come Over" category. But the shrimp deviled egg recipe is safe. Call the guests over and you can guarantee they'll adore them.
Mark Bittman's Shrimp Deviled Eggs
Time: 20 minutes (My mom takes issue with this time assessment, which she found incorrect. It took her much longer. But, she did triple the recipe.)
1/4 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 or 3 tablespoons chopped good olives
1 tablespoon minced onion
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves, more for garnish
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons mayonnaise.
1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add shrimp and cook until pink, about 2 minutes. Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon. Let cool a bit, then chop.
2. Add eggs to pot, adding water, if necessary, to cover. Bring water just to a boil, then shut off heat. Cover pot and let eggs rest for 9 minutes, 10 minutes if eggs are large. Plunge eggs into a bowl of ice water. When cool enough to handle, peel.
3. Halve eggs lengthwise and remove yolks. Mash yolks of 3 eggs in a medium bowl. Add chopped shrimp and remaining ingredients and mix well.
4. Mound this mixture into egg whites. Crumble remaining yolk on top and garnish with parsley. Serve, or cover with plastic and refrigerate for up to a day; bring back to room temperature before serving.
Yield: 4 servings.