As I stopped at the roadside fruit stand today, I decided that I liked the look of the grapefruit and the pineapple. I got a couple starfruit for good measure because I like them and they’re actually regional here (read: inexpensive) as compared to being such a rare commodity back in the northeast USA.
I spent much of my day today comparison shopping the many small grocery stores in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, and had come up with a couple pounds of fettucine and a pound of shrimp as the main attractions for dinner tonight. As I pedaled my bike down the bumpy dirt path, a plan formed in my mind for a Carribean Shrimp Alfredo featuring regional fruits and their juices to create the sauce.
Carribean Shrimp Fettucine
- 1 pound 36/40 raw shrimp (36-40 per pound)
- 1/2 small onion, cut to very small dice (brunoise)
- 1/2 inch fresh ginger, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
- 1/4 papaya, cut to 1/2-inch dice
- 2 grapefruits, segmented, and juice reserved
- 1/4 cup dark rum
- 2 pounds fettucine
Heat about 3 tablespoons butter in a large saute pan. Add a half teaspoon or so cinnamon to the butter, and then put the shrimp into the pan—don’t crowd them, make sure they all fit! (if not, do them in batches). Sprinkle the shrimp with salt. When the shrimp pinkify on their first side, flip them over and cook until they have pinkified on each side and curled into a ‘fetal position’. Remove and hold.
Add a couple tablespoons more butter to the pan and another good dose of cinnamon. Then, the diced onion and minced garlic & ginger, all at the same time, followed closely by a sprinkling of salt. Keep ‘em moving in the pan–don’t give them a chance to burn! As they toast up and caramelize, put in the pineapple. This will, in effect, deglaze the pan by cooling it down and adding enough liquid so as to incorporate any fond that may have developed on the side of the pan and give the onions/garlic/ginger enough liquid to simmer rather than brown.
Toss the pineapple to coat it with the oil, spices, and aromatics. Keep a close eye on it, stirring frequently. As it starts to take on a bit of a cooked appearance, add the papaya to the pan, and toss to mix thoroughly with the pan’s other contents.
Start the fettucine cooking in a large pot of boiling, salted water. Stir well as you add it into the pot and during the cooking process to prevent the fettucine from clumping together.
After the papaya has had a chance to cook for 3-4 minutes, add the grapefruit segments into the pan. These are what is going to make this mess of fruit into a sauce. Watch as the heat tears those suckers into shreds. They’re going to lose all body and pretty much disintegrate into a pulpy liquid . Pour in the rum and give it a chance to boil off.
Drain the pasta.
Add the grapefruit juice into the pan of fruit sauce.
Return the (drained) fettucine to the (empty) pot you cooked it in and stir a couple tablespoons of butter into it to help keep it from clumping. Add the sauce to the fettucine and stir everything together to mix it.
Return the saute pan to the burner and put the reserved shrimp into the pan to reheat them.
Portion the pasta into six plates and top each with six shrimp. Garnish further with three slices of fresh starfruit, if you so desire.
Photo credit: Eric Thompson