Kopitiam Noodles (Kon Loh Mee)

These are “dry” noodles. Despite the emphasis on the word “dry” to set it apart from the soup version, the sauce in Kon Loh Mee plays an instrumental part to bind all the good flavors and textures of the different ingredients together.

The sauce is a simple mixture of shallot oil, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and sesame oil. For one serving, start with:

—1/2 tablespoon shallot oil
—1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce
—1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
—1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

Combine the sauce in a bowl, toss the noodles in, taste, and adjust the seasoning according to your preference.

The next step is to pick your noodles. Thin rice noodles (mai fun), flat rice noodles (kuey teow), and yellow egg noodles are the common options at a typical Malaysian hawker stall. Depending on my mood, You can also combine two noodles together in one bowl.

The springy wonton noodles, which fall under the egg noodle category, are a popular choice and available either in thin or wide. Soba noodles, ramen noodles, and even spaghetti noodles are fine too. As a rule of thumb, 2-3 oz (55-85g) of noodles is a good portion for one serving.

Hawker-style Kon Loh Mee is often topped with Chinese barbecued pork, wonton dumplings, meatballs, shrimp or minced meat, just to give you some ideas. If you’re avoiding meat, tofu and tempeh make good toppings here.

There’s also always some kind of Asian leafy greens included, like choy sum, gai lan, or bok choy. The greens are usually just simply blanched. Here’s what you do: Bring a pot of water with a pinch of sugar, a pinch of salt, and a small glug of vegetable oil to a rolling boil. Then add the greens. You know they are ready as soon as the water returns to a rolling boil. Remove the greens, drain, and add them to your noodles.

Finally, serve your Kon Loh Mee with a side of chilies. In a pinch, a simple chili soy sauce dip will suffice but if you have the time, pickled green chilies are the way to go.

You can use either jalapeno or serrano for a bit more kick. In a nutshell, the chilies are sliced, deseeded, and pickled in a mixture of white vinegar, salt, and sugar until they turn a lighter shade of green, which takes about 1 to 2 hours, but it’s preferable if you can wait overnight as they get better with time. I have the step-by-step guide for you here.

Oh, and don’t forget to top your noodles with crispy fried shallots from the shallot oil!

Shrimp and Grits

Grits

1 cup yellow grits (not instant)
1 cup grated sharp white cheddar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 jalapeño, seeded, diced
1/4 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Shrimp

1/2 cup 1/3′ cubes tasso, andouille sausage, or bacon
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (optional)
3 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, divided
16 large shrimp (about 1 pound), peeled, deveined
1/4 cup (or more) beer
1/4 cup low-salt chicken stock
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

Grits

Bring 3 cups water to a simmer in a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in grits. Turn heat to low; gently simmer until grits begin to thicken. Continue cooking, stirring often and adding water by 1/4 cupfuls if too thick, until tender, about 1 hour. Stir in cheese, butter, and jalapeño, then cream. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Shrimp

Meanwhile, heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add tasso; sauté until fat begins to render, about 5 minutes (if tasso is very lean, add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet). Add garlic and 1 tablespoon butter; stir until butter melts. Add shrimp. When garlic begins to brown, add beer and chicken stock. Simmer until shrimp is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; set aside.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter to skillet; swirl to melt and cover bottom of pan. Crack eggs into pan and cook until whites are just set but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes.

Divide grits among bowls, forming a well in center. Spoon shrimp mixture into center of grits. Top with egg. Sprinkle tarragon over.

From Bon Appetit.

New England Clam Chowder

8 pounds cherrystone clams, scrubbed
1 tbsp unsalted butter
8 ounces bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 celery stalks, minced
1 large onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups heavy cream
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Chopped fresh chives
Oyster crackers or Vermont Common Crackers

Bring clams and 4 cups water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Cook until clams just open, 8-10 minutes (discard any that do not open). Using a large slotted spoon, transfer clams to a large rimmed baking sheet; set broth aside. Let clams cool slightly, then pull meat from shells; discard shells.

Chop clams into bite-size pieces. Strain broth through a fine-mesh sieve set over a large bowl. Add water if needed to measure 6 cups. DO AHEAD: Clams and broth can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately and chill.

Melt butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon begins to brown, about 8 minutes.

Add celery, onion, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add reserved broth (or 6 cups bottled clam juice), potatoes, thyme, and bay leaf.

Bring chowder base to a simmer; cook until potatoes are tender, 20-25 minutes.

Stir cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl to form a slurry. Stir slurry into chowder base; return to a boil to thicken. DO AHEAD: Base can be made 1 day ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Keep clams chilled. Bring base to a simmer before continuing.

Remove base from heat. Discard bay leaf. Stir in reserved clams (or two 10-ounce cans baby clams) and cream. Season with salt, if needed (clams’ brininess varies), and pepper.

Divide chowder among bowls. Garnish with chives and oyster crackers.

From Bon Appetit

Kuy Teav (Cambodian Rice Noodle Soup)

3 lb pork neck
2 teaspoons dried shrimp
2 teaspoons fish sauce
3 hard-boiled eggs , quartered
1 lb rice noodles
1 lb ground pork
3 teaspoons rice wine
3 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 lb raw shrimp , peeled and deveined
Salt
Kampot white pepper
Garnish
2 handfuls bean sprouts
1/2 bunch cilantro , chopped
4 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 teaspoons Sriracha chili sauce (or more, to taste)
2 limes, quartered

In a saucepan over high heat, boil the pork necks for 10 minutes after reaching boiling point.

Drain and discard the cooking water.

Put the pig’s necks back in the pot and fill with enough water to cover the bones by at least 2 inches.

Add the dried shrimp and mix.

Simmer on low heat for 3 hours, until the meat comes off the bones.

Slowly skim all the foam that forms on the surface of the broth. Add boiling water to maintain the same level, if necessary.

Remove the necks from the broth using a skimmer and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Remove the meat from the bones and set aside.

Add the fish sauce to the broth and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Simmer the broth over low heat while the rest of the recipe is prepared.

Bring a large pan of water to a boil, cook the noodles for 30 seconds, drain and rinse immediately with cold water.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the minced pork and mix well. (Crush the ground meat as you cook with a mashed press).

Add rice wine, soy sauce and honey. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly.

Add the pork neck meat and the sesame oil, mix and reserve.
Bring the broth to a boil over a high heat.

Place the shrimp in a metal colander and immerse it in the pot to cook the shrimp for 10 minutes in the simmering broth.

Remove the colander, drain and reserve the shrimp.

Divide the noodles into 4 large bowls.

Add the shrimp, pork, and a little of each topping to each bowl: soy sprouts, chopped cilantro, chopped scallions, fish lsauce, Sriracha chili sauce, lemons)

Pour the broth into each bowl and place pieces of hard-boiled egg on top. Serve very hot with additional toppings on the side.

Char Kway Teow

8 ounces (250 grams) dried wide rice noodles or 1 pound fresh rice noodles
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons regular soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 Chinese sausages (about 115 grams), sliced ? inch thick
2 cloves garlic, sliced
4 ounces (115 grams) shrimp (31 to 40 size)
4 ounces (115 grams) fish cake or fish tofu, thinly sliced
4 ounces (115 grams) garlic chives, cut into 2 ½-inch pieces
1 tablespoon shaoxing wine (optional)
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 ounces (172 grams) mung bean sprouts

Soak the dried noodles in warm water for 30 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a colander and let the excess water drain. If you have fresh rice noodles, cut them into 1½-inch wide strips, and set them aside.

Add 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce, 2 tablespoons regular soy sauce, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 1 teaspoon shrimp paste, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, ? teaspoon ground white pepper, and 1 teaspoon sugar in a small bowl. Mix until combined, and set aside.
Heat your wok to medium heat, and spread 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil around the perimeter of your wok. Add the sliced Chinese sausages and stir-fry for 20 seconds.

Add the 2 cloves of sliced garlic, the shrimp, and the fish tofu. Continue stir-frying for another 20 seconds.

Now, turn the wok to high heat. Spread 1 tablespoon shaoxing wine around the perimeter of the wok.

Stir-fry for another 15 seconds. Add the noodles. Gently fold them into the rest of the ingredients. Gather everything in the middle of the wok to let the sides of the wok superheat. Pour ithe sauce mixture evenly over the noodles, and spread another tablespoon of vegetable oil around the perimeter of the wok.

Next, add the garlic chives. Gently mix the noodles (to minimize breakage) while spreading them around the perimeter of the wok to get that wok hay sear from the superheated sides of the wok. Because of the hot wok and the oil, the rice noodles shouldn’t stick.

While the noodles are searing, work quickly to create a space at the bottom of the wok and add the last tablespoon of oil with the slightly beaten egg. Stir the egg around for 15 seconds to cook it and break it up. You may want to pre-cook the egg the first time if you are more of a beginner cook!
Next add the mung bean sprouts and gently mix everything together for 1 minute.

If your Char Kway Teow looks dry, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water over the noodles while stir-frying. You can also add a bit more vegetable oil if you like. Serve your Char Kway teow with chlli garlic paste or homemade chili oil on the side.

Laotian Stir Fried Fish with Chili and Holy Basil

A healthy portion of white fish, thinly sliced in small pieces (anything that holds together well, without an overpowering fishy flavor)
Lots of garlic
Hot red chile, sliced thinly
Pinch of palm sugar
Pinch of bouillon or 1/4 cup soup stock
Drizzle of dark soy sauce
Heap of fresh holy basil

Heat the garlic and chile in a hot wok with oil. Stir. Toss in the fish and stir-fry quickly on high heat. Add a little water, sugar and soup or bouillon. Stir, then add basil and soy sauce, primarily for color. That’s it! It’s quick.

The dish should be hot, but not be overly sweet. It is similar to the Thai stir-fry with chile and basil, “but different cooking. In Thai, more oil, more sugar. In Lao, little oil, little sugar, more chile.”

Mee Goreng

oil, for the pan
2 eggs
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons kecap manis
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon sesame or shallot oil
1-2 teaspoons chili sauce
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 large boneless skinless chicken thigh, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 links Chinese sausage, sliced
1/2 lb shrimp
1 lb fresh egg noodles (or cooked dried noodles)
2 cups bean sprouts
green onions/chives, cut into 2 inch lengths
tofu puffs
crispy shallots
fresh cilantro
thai chili
lime

Start off by making the egg ribbons. Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a small non-stick frying pan on medium low heat. Add a touch of oil and swirl to coat. Pour in a thin layer of egg and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan, much like a crepe. Cook, untouched over low heat until egg sets and releases. Use a rubber spatula to flip and cook for another 10-15 seconds. Remove from the pan and repeat until all the eggs are cooked. Let cool slightly, roll and slice into ribbons.

In a small bowl, mix together the kecap manis, soy sauce, oyster sauce, ketchup, sesame oil, chili sauce and white pepper. Set aside.

Heat up a generous amount of oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until aromatic. Turn the heat up a bit and add the chicken and cook until lightly golden. Add the Chinese sausage and shrimp. Cook, stirring often, until the chicken is cooked through, the Chinese sausage is crispy, and the shrimp is cooked. Add the noodles, bean sprouts, tofu puffs, and the sauce and toss until everything is well coated and the noodles are heated through.

Enjoy immediately topped with crispy shallots and cilantro. Serve with lime for squeezing and chili for spice!

Sous Vide Fish with XO Sauce

2 mulloway or barramundi fillets
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 green onion, sliced diagonally
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp XO sauce
1/2 tsp chicken bouillon powder (or 1/2 tsp of a crushed stock cube) mixed with 1/2 cup hot water

Cook the fish fillets sous vide at 131F (55C) for 30 minutes.

When the fish is finished cooking sous vide, heat up vegetable oil in a small pot over a medium heat and fry the ginger for 1 minute, then add the stock, soy and XO sauce and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Put the fish in serving bowls, pour the sauce over the fish and serve with sliced green onion scattered on top.

Lowcountry Shrimp and Grits

CHEESE GRITS
4 1/2 cup water
1 cup stoneground grits
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons butter 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco, or to taste

SHRIMP
3 bacon strips, chopped
Peanut oil, as needed
1 pound extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons flour
4 ounces sliced mushroom (1 1/4 cups)
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco, or to taste
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions, plus more for garnish

Grits:

Bring 4 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Whisk in the grits and salt, reduce heat to low, and cook at a gently simmer for 35 to 40 minutes or until the grits are thick, stirring occasionally. Stir more often as the grits thicken.

Remove the pan from the heat, add the cheddar, parmesan, butter, pepper, and Tabasco, and stir until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Keep warm over very low heat.

Shrimp:

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon for 6 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Transfer with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels and leave the fat in the skillet. If there is less than 1 1/2 tablespoons of bacon fat, make up the difference with peanut oil.

Toss the shrimp with the flour until lightly coated, shaking off any excess. In the skillet with the reserved fat, cook the shrimp over medium-high heat for 1 minute or until they begin to turn pink.

Add the mushrooms and bacon and cook for 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds (do not let the garlic brown). Stir in the hot sauce, lemon juice, and scallions and remove from the heat.

Divide the grits among 4 shallow bowls and top with the shrimp mixture. Garnish with additional scallions and serve at once.

Shrimp and Grits

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups milk
3 cups water
1 cup grits
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, finely grated
8 ounces bacon, chopped
20 medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup scallion, chopped
Salt and pepper

Add the butter and olive oil to a saucepan set over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Turn the heat to high and pour in the milk and water. Bring to a boil and slowly whisk in the grits. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes. When done, dump in the cheese and stir until it is melted. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Add the bacon to a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Cook until golden browned and crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels. Pour out all but 3 tablespoons of the oil.

Set the skillet back over medium-high heat and when nearly smoking, add the shrimp. Cook until pink, about 1 1/2 minutes per side.

Scoop some of the cheese grits into a bowl and top with the shrimp, chopped bacon, and scallions. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Muussels: Mussels with Tomato and Garlic Broth

1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 cups drained canned tomatoes in thick puree, chopped (from one 28-ounce can)
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
4 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
Salt, if needed

Garlic Toast (optional)

In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley, tomatoes, thyme, and red-pepper flakes. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Discard any mussels that have broken shells or that don’t clamp shut when tapped. Add the mussels to the pot. Cover; bring to a boil. Cook, shaking the pot occasionally, just until the mussels open, about 3 minutes. Remove the open mussels. Continue to boil, uncovering the pot as necessary to remove the mussels as soon as their shells open. Discard any that do not open.

Stir the black pepper into the broth. Taste the broth and, if needed, add salt. Ladle the broth over the mussels and serve with the garlic toast.

Nut and Herb Breading (for chicken, fish, or pork)

2 chicken cutlets
4 eggs
4 cups raw, unsalted nuts of your choice
1/2 cup finely chopped herbs of your choice
1/4 – 1/2 cup cooking oil of your choice
1 avocado, sliced
Salt & pepper to taste
Directions:

Finely grind nuts in food processor, but don’t grind them so long that they turn into paste. Combine the ground nuts with the chopped herbs. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Lightly beat raw eggs in large bowl. Dip chicken cutlets in the egg wash and coat both sides with the nut mixture.

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Place chicken in skillet and cook until browned on both sides and cooked through, about five minutes a side.

Top with avocado slices before serving.

If you’re increasing this recipe and cooking several batches of cutlets, change the oil halfway through so it doesn’t become dark and have a burnt flavor.

Variations:

This recipe can be adapted with a variety of spices, herbs and nuts and can also be used with pork cutlets or other meats.

Butter Poached Scallops en Papillote

Serves 4

Handful of baby spinach
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons finely chopped preserved lemon, rind only, rinsed and dried
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, divided
16 sea scallops, preferably all a similar size, patted dry
16 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
4 tablespoons dry white wine

Preheat the oven to 475°F and place a rack in the center position.

Cut four 15-inch squares of parchment paper.

Assemble each pouch: Place a few spinach leaves in the center of the paper, season lightly with salt and pepper (but go easy—the lemon is salty), add 1 /2 teaspoon of lemon and scatter with 1 /2 teaspoon of butter cut into bits.

Arrange 4 scallops over the butter, top with another 1 /2 teaspoon of lemon and 8 tomato halves; season lightly with salt and pepper.

Add 1 tablespoon of wine and finish with 1 tablespoon of butter cut into bits.

Pull up the corners of the parchment to encase the ingredients in a hobo sack and tie it with kitchen twine. Place the pouches on a baking sheet. Cook the pouches for 8 minutes.

Place each pouch in a soup bowl. Untie the packets, being careful of the steam, and serve immediately.

Grilled Scallops with Corn, Peaches, and Tomatoes

olive oil
2 ears corn
2 peaches (halved and pitted)
8 large scallops
salt and pepper
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
chopped parsley

Heat a charcoal or gas grill until very hot.

Rub the grill grate with a little oil and put it 3 or 4 inches from the heat.

Brush 2 ears corn, and 2 peaches (halved and pitted) with olive oil; grill until lightly browned.

Strip the corn kernels off the cobs, chop the peaches; put in a large bowl.

Brush the scallops with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill until they’re brown on the bottom and release easily from the grill, 2 to 3 minutes.

Turn and brown on the other side; total cooking time should be 3 to 5 minutes; take the scallops off the grill before the interior becomes totally opaque.

Halve the scallops and add them to the bowl along with 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes, chopped parsley, basil, or chives, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss.

Cold Rice Noodles with Lemongrass Shrimp

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, tails intact, deveined
1/2 lemongrass stalk, tough outer layer removed, lightly smashed, finely chopped
1 Fresno chile, with seeds, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
8 oz. rice vermicelli noodles
Vegetable oil (for grilling)
1/2 cucumber, peeled, cut into thin strips
1 medium carrot, peeled, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup salted, roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Thai basil, mint, and/or cilantro sprigs, and pickled shallots for serving
Nuoc Cham for serving

Toss shrimp, lemongrass, chile, garlic, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

Cook noodles according to package directions. Using tongs or a spider, transfer noodles to a colander and run under cold water to stop cooking; set aside.

Prepare grill for medium-high heat; oil grill grate. Grill shrimp until cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.

Top noodles with shrimp, cucumber, carrot, peanuts, herbs, and Pickled Whole Shallots, and serve with Nuoc Cham.

DO AHEAD: Shrimp can be marinated 12 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

Bacon-Wrapped Grilled Shrimp

SHRIMP
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
6 small jarred or dried Calabrian chiles, minced
20 jumbo shrimp, shelled with tails intact
10 slices of bacon, cut in half crosswise

COCKTAIL SAUCE
1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup prepared white horseradish, drained
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving

PREPARE THE SHRIMP
In a large baking dish, whisk the 1/2 cup of oil with the lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic and chiles. Wrap each shrimp with a piece of bacon and add to the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour; turn the shrimp halfway through marinating.

MAKE THE COCKTAIL SAUCE
In a bowl, whisk the ketchup, horseradish, shallot, vinegar, lemon zest and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

GRILL THE SHRIMP
Light a grill or preheat a grill pan; brush with oil. Season the shrimp lightly with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, turning once, until the bacon is browned and the shrimp is just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a platter and serve with the cocktail sauce and lemon wedges.

Barbecued Shrimp (or Pork, or Beef) with Tomato Salad

1/3 cup packed basil leaves, plus extra leaves for garnish
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 1/4 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons pure ancho chile powder
1 1/2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
24 jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 large yellow heirloom tomatoes (1 1/2 pounds), sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced

In a blender, puree the 1/3 cup of basil leaves with the olive oil until smooth. Season the oil with salt and black pepper.

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. In a small bowl, mix the sweet smoked paprika with the pure ancho chile powder, light brown sugar, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Brush the shrimp with the canola oil and season all over with the spice mixture. Grill the shrimp over moderately high heat, turning once, until they are lightly charred and cooked through, about 4 minutes total.

Arrange the tomato and onion slices on a platter and drizzle with the basil oil. Top with the shrimp, garnish with the remaining basil leaves and serve.

Grilled Shrimp and Watermelon Salad

CUCUMBER WATER
2 large cucumbers (about 1 1/4 pounds)—peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt

SALAD
2 cups diced (1/2 inch) seedless red watermelon
2 cups diced (1/2 inch) seedless yellow watermelon
1 1/2 pounds red tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
One large cucumber—peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup minced shallots
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped tarragon
1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/4 cup pure olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups baby salad greens

In a blender, puree the cucumbers with the sugar, rice vinegar and salt. Strain the puree through a fine sieve set over a medium bowl. Refrigerate the cucumber water until chilled.

In a large bowl, toss the red and yellow watermelon with the tomatoes, cucumber, shallots, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice and tarragon. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and for up to 6 hours.

Shortly before serving, light a grill or heat a grill pan. In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with the pure olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the shrimp over high heat until browned and just cooked, about 3 minutes per side.

Spoon the watermelon salad into 4 shallow bowls. Arrange the grilled shrimp on top. Ladle the cucumber water into each bowl, top with the baby salad greens and serve.

MAKE AHEAD
The cucumber water can be made up to 1 day ahead. Stir before adding to the salad.

Grilled Shrimp with Oregano and Lemon

1/2 cup salted capers—rinsed, soaked for 1 hour and drained
1/2 cup oregano leaves
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 pounds large shrimp, shelled and deveined
Salt

On a cutting board, finely chop the drained capers with the oregano leaves and garlic. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, along with the lemon zest and lemon juice. Season the sauce with pepper.

Light a grill. In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Thread the shrimp onto metal skewers and grill over high heat, turning once, until the shrimp are lightly charred and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the shrimp from the skewers and transfer them to a platter. Spoon the sauce on top and serve.

Ginger-Garlic Grilled Shrimp (or Chicken, or Pork)

SHRIMP
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 1/2 pounds large shrimp, shelled and deveined

DIPPING SAUCE
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 stalks of fresh lemongrass, tender inner bulb only, minced
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes—peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Kosher salt

In a large bowl, mix the vegetable oil with the parsley, garlic, basil, ginger, lemon juice, salt and crushed red pepper. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 4 hours.

In a medium saucepan, heat the vegetable oil. Stir in the ginger, garlic and lemongrass and cook over moderate heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Season with salt. Transfer the sauce to ramekins.

Light a grill. Loosely thread the shrimp onto 10 skewers. Grill over moderately high heat, turning once, until lightly charred and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to plates and serve with the tomato sauce.