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Saturday, July 30, 2005

Smoky Citrus Tea Shrimp Recipe

In a marriage each partner does certain things for the other. One of the things I do for Lee, my husband, is make him a pot of tea every morning. He simply cannot function without it. He rejects the idea of making it himself; when I make it he calls it "tea with the love". How I could I ever deny him that?

While I like drinking tea I don't drink it everyday as Lee does. But I do enjoy making it and I have long been fascinated with both the ritual of tea and the idea of cooking with it. Ever since making Indian style chai from scratch in college, I have tinkered around with recipes, such as Tea Smoked Chicken. When I had some powdered chai tea that was too sweet for me taste, I made some Chai Cookies with it. So I was really excited when this month's "Is My Blog Burning" event was announced with the theme (and pun) tasteTea.

I have several books about tea that include recipes, maybe three or four. One recipe really caught my eye, Smoky Tea Prawns using Lapsang Souchong tea as a sauce and cooking liquid from Tea: Essence of the Leaf. During this past week I received an offer from Adagio to try some of their teas and the tangerine flavored black tea not only sounded terrific, but seemed like the perfect thing to complement the shrimp. In the end I used both the smoky Lapsang Souchong and the tangerine tea. The tangerine tea is marvelously fragrant with large chunks of tangerine peel.

In addition to changing the tea, I also tweaked the ingredients adding some orange juice to bump up the citrus flavor. The resulting recipe is easy as can be and very impressive. Lots of tangy flavor and only minutes to prepare. Lee said it was "gourmet" and "would impress the judges on Iron Chef". Always being my biggest fan is just one of the things Lee does for me.

Smoky Citrus Shrimp
serves 2


2 handfuls salad greens
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 cup strong cup of Lapsang Souchong tea (I used Lapsang and tangerine tea)
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon orange juice
10 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Orange slices for garnish


In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. When butter melts, add the garlic. Saute garlic until fragrant and just beginning to turn golden. Add orange zest and stir quickly with garlic, about 15 seconds. Add tea, vinegar, honey, soy sauce and orange juice to pan and allow to come to a simmer and reduce slightly, a minute or two. Add shrimp and continue to cook until prawns are opaque and firm, cooked through.

Place a handful of greens on each plate. Serve shrimp with drizzle of sauce over the greens. Garnish with orange slices. This makes a nice starter or serve alongside peanut sauce noodles.