Stir-Fried Satsuma Shrimp

When satsumas start coming in from Plaquemines Parish, we eat them by the sack. But I never cooked with them until my son’s Cub Scout troop picked a short ton of them.

Stir-fry dishes, in order to come out right, require a great deal of heat and either a wok or one of those wok-like skillets. Flat-bottomed woks are better for most home cooks, and essential if you have an electric stove. You have to preheat the wok for about ten minutes before you start cooking. And the pieces of food, particularly meats, need to be cut up smaller than your instincts tell you.

This concoction is very good served atop a spring mix salad, with a few satsuma sections scattered about, in a warm-cool contrast. This dish was inspired by something I found in “Hot Wok,” one in a great series of books about Asian cooking for American cooks by Hugh Carpenter and Teri Sanderson.

  • 2 lbs. medium shrimp, peeled
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 green onions
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 Tbs. chopped garlic
  • Zest of 1 satsuma (or mandarin or tangerine)
  • 1/2 cup satsuma juice, strained
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. Vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc mam; optional)
  • 1 Tbs. hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp. Asian hot sauce (or Louisiana hot sauce, like Crystal)
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro or parsley

1. Spread the pecans on a pizza pan and put them into a preheated 350-degree oven. Toast the pecans, shaking them around a time or two, for about five minutes. Remove and cool.

2. Slice the shrimp into four or five pieces each, crosswise.

3. Remove the seeds and stem of the bell pepper, and slice it into small dice. Slice the green onions into quarter-inch lengths.

4. Combine the satsuma juice, fish sauce, hoisin, hot sauce, cornstarch, and cilantro, and stir to blend completely.

5. Preheat the wok for ten minutes over the highest heat you have. Add the canola oil and roll it around to coat the sides of the wok. Add the garlic and satsuma zest and cook for a few seconds, then add the shrimp. Stir-fry constantly until the shrimp turn white at the outside–about 30 seconds.

6. Add the bell pepper and green onion and stir-fry for another 15 seconds or so. Let the vegetables remain crisp. Add the satsuma-juice mixture and stir it around until it thickens, which it will in about 15 to 30 seconds, depending on the heat you’ve been able to work up.

7. Add the pecans. Add salt to taste, and spoon out onto a warm platter.

Serves two entrees or four to six appetizers.

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