Have you ever listened to the sounds you’re making when you’re cooking? I mean, have you really, really heard them? I heard a symphony when I made these Spicy Shrimp with Mango Lime Salsa.
The hit on the big drum when you put your wooden cutting board on your counter starts the symphony.
The contrasting light crispy sounds of a triangle when you peel the papery skin of the onions. Your ears warm up for a variety of sounds that your cooking will produce.
The bass sets in. It’s the chopping and bonking of the knife on your wooden cutting board. The rhythm determines the pace of the meal. Hasty and sloppy, or concise and precise, always perfectly reflecting your mood.
Another beat on a drum, now the steel drum. Cling, metal on metal; your skillet lands on your stove. Another cling, you’ve put up a pan for the potatoes too.
Ssszzzz, the gas fizzes on like the first strikes on a guitar. The sound deepens when the butter melts, fizzing and hissing, to become even more clear when the onions take over the whizzing. It softly hums with the rhythm and give tone to your dish.
The light footsteps, an airy violin maybe, as you walk to the fridge. The piano plays its heavy keys. It’s the fridge door, protesting against being opened. It wants to keep its treasures cool and safe inside.
It’s probably the only symphony you’ll ever hear that you can smell simultaneously and eat afterwards. And the best plea to use your ears in the kitchen as much your eyes and hands.
Listen to your onions and learn how the sound changes when their water evaporates and the onions color brown. Splash a drop of water in the hot oil to decide if it’s hot enough to brown your meat for that perfect crust. Keep an ear out to the cracks the risotto makes when it’s time to add the next scoop of stock. Have your pasta ready for that moment you hear the steam heaves up the lid of your pan.
Listen to the chops and sizzling when you make these Spicy Shrimp with Mango Lime Salsa.
Spicy Shrimp with Mango Lime Salsa
This little dish has written Summer all over it. You can serve it in taco’s, on lettuce leaves or just as a small bite. Make sure the shrimp are fully defrosted, if using frozen, and pat them dry. Any remaining water can, how odd it may sound, set the skillet to fire.
If that happens, put a lid on your pan. Turn off the heat and your hood. And keep calm and cook some shrimp.
I used for a snack/appetizer for 8:
16-24 large shrimp, peeled and divined, with tail shell
2-3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon pimenton (Spanish smoked paprika)
chili (powder or flakes) to taste
½ teaspoon salt
4-5 tablespoons olive oil
For the salsa:
2 ripe mangos
1 red bell pepper
1 red onion
½ bunch cilantro/parsley + extra for garnish
1-2 jalapeño pepper(s)*
1-2 tablespoons honey*
salt + pepper
* depending how spicy/sweet you like your salsa.
Marinade the shrimp. Make sure your shrimp are fully defrosted. Peel and mince garlic. Zest and juice lime. Mix garlic, lime zest, pimenton, chili and salt. Add 1 tablespoon lime juice and 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Taste, might need some more lime juice and salt. Marinate shrimp in fridge for 30 mins.
Make the salsa. Peel the mango, remove the pit and cut in very small pieces (1/4 in | 1/2 cm dice). Cut bell pepper and onion also in very small pieces. Chop cilantro and jalapeño pepper(s). Juice lime. Mix all ingredients and add honey, salt and pepper to taste.
Sauté the shrimp. Heat the skillet with the 2-3 remaining tablespoons of olive oil. Sauté shrimp in batches until they turn pink. If preferred, sauté over high heat to brown the shrimp a bit.
Serve shrimp with the salsa and garnish with chopped cilantro, parsley or green onions.