Make It For Your Date – Asparagus Shrimp Stir Fry

 Staying in tonight?  Hit the store on the way home and impress your date.

Asparagus Shrimp Stir-Fry from chef Eric Banh via Sunset Magazine

We all know the saying “The quickest way to a man’t heart is through his stomach”.  This can also be a fairly speedy route to the female heart as well.  Staying in and making your date dinner (or making it together) rates high on the romance scale.  You get to show off your creativity and appreciation for nuance and details, even if it’s a simple dish. It’s no different from putting an outfit together.  That’s what this series is all about.  She or he will be left impressed, and you won’t need the skills of Wolfgang Puck.  

  • Familiar Ingredients:  Asparagas, Shrimp, Jasmine Rice, Soy Sauce, Vegetable Oil, Garlic, Shallots, Pepper, & Sugar.
  • Not so Familiar Ingredients: Fish Sauce, Oyster Sauce, Shaoxing cooking wine.
  • Number of Pans/Pots You’ll need to make this dish:  Two.  A cast iron skillet or wok, plus a pot for the rice.  You’ll need a bowl or two for mixing, plus a plate for the shrimp to rest on.

We’re forwarding you to a recipe from the March 2013 issue of Sunset Magazine, found at myrecipes.com, that might become a regular in your rotation.  Chef Eric Banh and his sister Sophie own Monsoon and Ba Bar in Seattle, and they contributed this recipe for an Asparagus Shrimp Stir-fry.  It’s super delicious, and fairly easy.  There are a couple timing issues to be aware of though:

MIFYD Shrimp Asparagas with SirachaSiracha, delicious Siracha, is optional

Rice – If you’re cutting the amount of rice down from the amount shown in the cooking directions on the package (say, if you’re cooking for two instead of four), you’ll likely have to cut your cooking time down.  My rule for rice is to always check in on it about 10 minutes before it’s due to be done cooking.  I’ve heard that you’re not supposed to take the lid off rice until it’s “done”, but when I’ve followed that I’ve ended up with burnt rice.  Don’t be afraid to pull some rice away from the side of the pan to see how much water is left to absorb.  If it’s down below the level of the rice, keep an eye on it.  That water can absorb rapidly, and once it’s gone, your rice will burn.  Do make sure to keep the lid on the pan in-between checks.  When it’s done, remove it from the heat.  It can sit this way for quite a while, staying hot in the pan.  It’s better to get your rice done a little early, rather than having the entree you’re pairing it with done early, and waiting on the rice.

Shrimp – Shrimp can be tricky because it cooks quickly, and can overcook in a matter of seconds.  It will still taste good overcooked, but it’s so much better when it’s done just right.  It’s best to follow cooking instructions down to a T on shrimp, then remove it from heat as soon as it’s done.  You can just add it back in to the dish at the end, which this recipe has you do.  Also, you can buy shrimp already deveined, and feel free to remove the tails pre-cooking if you don’t want your date to deal with the mess of it.

If you want to add a bit of kick to the dish, cut down on some of the soy and fish sauce (to keep the sodium at a reasonable level), and add a teaspoon of chili garlic paste.  If either of you like it really spicy, have some Siracha on hand.  You should be able to find all of the needed ingredients for this recipe at your local grocer with an Asian foods isle.  You just might not find the exact brands recommended.

It think a white wine on the slightly sweeter side would pair really well with this dish.  Any suggestions on good cocktail or wine pairings from you guys?  Leave it in the comments.

Sarah is a self proclaimed foodie and regular contributor to fullclutch.com.  She thinks it’s impressive that her husband has made this for her numerous times.  Even though it’s pretty easy to make.