Steamy Shrimp and Bay Scallops

“Eating as a simple means of ending hunger is one of the great liberties of being alone … It is a pleasure to not have to take anyone else’s tastes into account or explain why I like to drink my grapefruit juice out of the carton.”
– an essay by Ann Patchett, “Dinner for One, Please, James”
― Jenni Ferrari-Adler, Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant : Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone

Mr. Tess has worked out of town several times this summer leaving me on my own.

Cooking for one: white grape juice, directly from the bottle. Tuna and mayo on macaroni. Thin spaghetti with butter and pepper. Vanilla ice cream in front of the freezer.

Oh the embarrassing things we do when no one is looking…

Here is one of these “cooking for one” meals, which didn’t generate many dirty dishes, and which had some healthy green things to supplement the essentially white starch and carbohydrates I was over consuming.

Note my trick to avoid heating the kitchen with a large steamer for one small dish: using 3 tea-spoons to make a “steamer for one.”

Fish fillets, scallops (and other shellfish), and shrimp are great for cooking for one because you choose how much or how little to prepare. They are also delicious steamed in a simple broth.
Steamed Shrimp and Scallops for One

  • a small square of kombu, soaked
  • 4 to 5 ounces peeled shrimp
  • 4 to 5 ounces bay scallops
  • a dozen sugar snap peas
  • a splash of sake
  • a splash of mirin

Place the kombu in the bottom of an ovenproof bowl. Arrange the snap peas on top, then the scallops, and shrimp. Seal the top with foil or plastic wrap. Place in a steamer on high, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes. Test the shrimp to see if it is cooked.

Serve with cold well rinsed somen, summer tomatoes, cucumbers, sliced green onions, and dipping sauce.

  • 1 cup dashi
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons mirin
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar

The tiny cucumbers, no larger than the sungar snap peas were called Persian cucumbers.

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