Rooting for ginger

  • Tue Jan 10th, 2012 7:17pm

<b>FOOD FINDS | </b>By Mina Williams Herald writer

Fresh ginger is one flexible produce item. The knobby and fibrous root, full of bumps, curves and crevices, can be considered a delicacy, a medicine or a spice.

As a delicacy the root finds its place in tea, pickled alongside sushi and flavoring candy. It is a flavorful mainstay of Chinese, Korean, Japanese and many South Asian cuisines.

To get to the flavorful center with the least fuss or muss, experts recommend using a microplane grater to grate fresh ginger, making sure the fibers stay on the root and not in your mouth. A Japanese ceramic grater is another good tool to yield finely “chopped” ginger.

Jamie Robinson, seafood expert at Edmonds PCC Natural Markets, says that fresh ginger is best used to enhance the naturally sweet flavor of prawns. He says that ginger is equally at home as an ingredient in a rub, sauce or stir fry. It also does wonders for other seafood and meats.

“Ginger pairs exceptionally well with shrimp,” he says. “That’s why I like this recipe so much. I think the best is certified wild American shrimp, which we get from Woods Fisheries, a fifth-generation fishery in Port St. Joe, Fla.”

While just using a single tablespoon of fresh ginger, the root brings a tangy freshness, light spiciness and mellow sweetness to this dish.

Bengali Spice-rubbed Prawns

Ingredients

2 tablespoons coriander seeds

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 tablespoon turmeric

1 teaspoon red chili powder (cayenne powder or crushed red chili also work)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

8 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

1/2 cup lime juice

1/2 cup fresh mint, finely chopped

2 pounds jumbo prawns, peeled and deveined

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. In a small skillet, toast coriander seeds, cumin seeds and black peppercorns. Grind in a spice mill or mortar and pestle, and then combine with the remaining ingredients (excluding the prawns).

3. Rub the spice mix onto the prawns and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast for 7 to 10 minutes and serve.

Recipe by Jayesh Rao, PCC Cooks instructor