This is a simple, flexible recipe for week night dinners that tastes good hot or cold. You can also serve the vegetables by themselves. Combined with tomatoes and a light basil cream sauce, cucumbers make a great hot vegetable that freezes beautifully. Generally, cucumbers are too watery to cook or freeze, but by salting them the excess moisture is removed and they act like a new vegetable. Most of the salt drips away with the water that it pulls out of the cucumbers, leaving them perfectly seasoned and ready to cook. It’s important to remove excess water from the tomatoes and shrimp as well. If you don’t you run the risk of diluting the sauce.
Don’t worry about the cream if you’re lactose intolerant, as the recipe has less than 1 gram of lactose per serving. According to “Food Intolerance Management Plan”, by Dr. Sue Shepherd, most people with lactose intolerance can handle about 4 grams of lactose per serving of food without experiencing problems (page 29). As always, only eat what your body can tolerate, and only you know what that is.
To freeze, let the cooked vegetables cool completely before transferring to a freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze for up to 4 months.
Shrimp with Cucumbers and Tomatoes in Basil Cream Sauce
Serves 4, adapted from Fresh from the Freezer
3 medium cucumbers (about 2 pounds or 900 grams)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) Kosher salt
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
1 can (14.5 ounces or 411 grams) diced tomatoes
Dash of pepper
2 tablespoons (30 ml) chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried
1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream
1 pound (450 grams) cooked shrimp
Peel the cucumbers and cut them in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and throw them away. Cut the cucumber halves into 1/4 inch (.64 cm) slices. Put the cucumber slices into a colander and sprinkle them with the salt. Leave the colander in the sink to drain for 30 minutes.
Rinse the salt off the cucumbers with cold, running water. Use a salad spinner to remove the excess water or squeeze the cucumbers, a handful at a time. Put the cucumbers in a bowl and set aside. Remove the shrimp tails if needed and blot the shrimp with a stack of paper towels to remove excess moisture. Rinse the tomatoes and drain them in a colander. Press the tomatoes against the side of the colander to remove excess water. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the cucumbers, tomatoes, pepper, cream and basil. Turn the heat to high and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cream reduces to a thick sauce. Add the shrimp and toss to coat with the sauce. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and serve hot or cold.