Quinoa and Grilled Shrimp: Orange You Glad We’re Cooking with Cara Cara?

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Recently, Sunkist invited a group of Los Angeles-area food bloggers to a cooking demonstration at the Sur la Table Kitchens with Chef Robert Dahni to celebrate the Cara Cara orange harvest.  We made a pico de gallo, a champagne and brandy cocktail, and a grilled orange, rice noodle and crab salad.  All these recipes, and more,  are available on the Sunkist website.  I had fun although a little camera shy with the video team. I hope to post the video from the event and other recipes soon.  While we wait for my close up, I decided to write a recipe inspired by the oranges since I walked away with a bag full of sweet Cara Caras…well, maybe two bags.

First a little background on the fruit: the Cara Cara is a mutant! Actually they’re believed to be a cross between a Washington navel and a Brazilian Bahia navel.  This young’un has been around since circa 1976 and available in the U.S. since the 80’s.  Sweet and low in acid, the flavor has notes of cherry, grapefruit, and rose petals, with the flesh ranging from dark pink to a light red.  The Cara Cara is also full of healthy goodness: Vitamins A, C, good source of fiber, potassium, and a natural source of lycopene.  It’s good stuff.

Cara Cara Quinoa with Grilled Shrimp
serves 4

Ingredients for the marinade:
2 tbsp lime juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 pound (31/40)shrimp, shelled, deveined, keep the tail on

Ingredients for the quinoa:
1 cup Tri-Colored Quinoa
2 cups water
zest of 1 Cara Cara orange
1/2 cup Cara Cara orange juice (about 2 oranges)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 onion, small dice
1 stalk of celery, small dice
1/2 zucchini, small dice
1/2 yellow squash, small dice
1/2 tomato, small dice
salt & black pepper to taste

Ingredients for the sauce:
1 Cara Cara orange zested & juiced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt & black pepper to taste

Procedure for the marinating your shrimp:
Whisk the lime juice, oil, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Add the shrimp. Toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge.

Procedure for the quinoa:
Place the quinoa in a medium pot, add the water, orange juice and zest. Bring to a boil over high heat. Then cover and simmer over medium heat until the liquid had been absorbed, about 25 minutes.

In the mean time, in a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the onions become translucent. Add the celery and cook for 3 minutes. Add the zucchini, squash, and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes more or until the vegetables are just cooked through. Remove from heat. Once the quinoa has absorbed all the liquid, add the sautéed vegetables and gently mix in.

Procedure for the shrimp:
Thread your marinated shrimp onto skewers. Preheat your grill/griddle. In a small sauce pot, reduce the orange juice over medium heat to about half. In a medium sauté pan, heat the butter and sauté the garlic until it becomes fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the cayenne pepper and reduced orange juice. Season to taste. Continue to cook over medium heat until you have a sauce consistency, 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. Grill the shrimp skewers, using the marinade to baste your shrimp. They cook quickly, about 2 minutes each side.

Putting it all together:
Divide your Cara Cara Quinoa between 4 serving bowls. Drizzle the Cara Cara sauce over the grilled shrimp and divide between the 4 bowls.


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