Like an urban legend that grows wildly out of control at each retelling, sometimes certain foods get a bum rap they can’t shake.
In the ’90s shrimp was one of those foods shunned for its high cholesterol. By 1996 a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that although high in cholesterol, shrimp did not adversely affect production of cholesterol in the body.
David Heber, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of California-Los Angeles and author of “What Color Is Your Diet?,” examines 15 myths about nutrition, including the notion that eating shrimp raises cholesterol levels.
“The American Heart Association acknowledged a long time ago that shrimp had been wrongly accused, but lots of people, including some doctors, still believe this myth.”
To clear up any lingering confusion, a moderate amount of boiled or steamed shrimp has been shown to contain about the same amount of cholesterol as white meat in chicken. Low in fat and calories — especially when flavored in a low-fat marinade — shrimp also offers beneficial doses of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-12 and niacin. Shrimp also are mineral-rich, supplying iron, zinc and copper.
And while you have the grill fired up for The Star’sHerb-Marinated Shrimp
, why not boost the nutrition and eye appeal by adding a quick confetti of grilled vegetables to the basmati rice?
Besides adding a lovely splash of color to the dish, asparagus and red peppers are high in beta carotene. Add a sprinkling of toasted almonds for the benefits of vitamin E as well as an elegant crunch.
When purchasing shrimp, “large” are considered to be 21 to 30 per pound.
If using bamboo skewers, soak in a bowl of water 30 minutes before putting them on the grill to avoid splintering and smoking. Also, because the vegetables take longer to cook than the shrimp, cook the vegetables separately, as called for in the recipe.Herb-Marinated Shrimp Makes 6 to 8 servings 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 3 garlic cloves, cut in half 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 1/2 pounds large uncooked shrimp, peeled
Combine basil, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper and garlic in food processor. Pulse to coarsely chop. Add olive oil and process to blend.
Place shrimp in resealable plastic bag. Spoon herb mixture into bag. Remove air from bag and seal. Distribute marinade over shrimp by squeezing and moving shrimp throughout bag.
Refrigerate 30 minutes. Preheat grill or allow coals to burn down to white ash. Place shrimp on skewers. Grill over medium high heat 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until done.Per serving, based on 6: 144 calories (27 percent from fat), 4 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), 173 milligrams cholesterol, 2 grams carbohydrates, 23 grams protein, 346 milligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber. Grilled Vegetable Basmati Rice Makes 6 to 8 servings 1 (12-ounce) package basmati rice 1 red pepper 5 baby portabella mushrooms 1 small red onion, cut into three 1/2-inch slices 10 to 12 asparagus spears 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted Prepare rice according to package directions.
Meanwhile, cut pepper in half, discard stems, seeds and membranes. Grill bell pepper halves, skin-side down on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Add mushrooms and onion slices to rack; cover and grill 20 to 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. After 15 minutes, turn mushrooms and onions; add asparagus. (Do not turn pepper halves.) Remove vegetables from grill rack. Place peppers in resealable plastic bag and seal; set aside. Dice mushrooms, onion and asparagus. Peel skin from peppers and dice.
Toss all vegetables with rice. Stir in balsamic vinegar; sprinkle with almonds. Place on large platter and top with herb-marinated shrimp.Per serving, based on 6: 275 calories (11 percent from fat), 4 grams total fat (trace saturated fat), no cholesterol, 54 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams protein, 47 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber.