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When preparing your next health-conscious menu, consider this fact: Nutritionists say that knowing where your ingredients come from can be almost as important as knowing what ingredients to use.

That's one reason food such as certified Wild American Shrimp has become popular. They are caught fresh in their own natural environment from the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico-and they are a health-conscious choice for consumers. A typical 4-ounce portion has just 112 calories when served steamed, boiled, grilled or baked and provides 23 grams of protein-47 percent of the daily value for protein.

Monica Pope, owner and chef of the Houston restaurant T'afia, has built an entire menu around fresh, regional fare. She recommends that consumers ask for certified Wild American Shrimp and purchase local ingredients at their grocery store, favorite restaurant or seafood counter. Not all shrimp are created equal-wild-caught shrimp has a distinctive flavor. Most shrimp sold in American stores are pond-raised imported, so be sure to ask for Wild American Shrimp caught by fishermen.

"You're not only choosing the best-tasting seafood possible, you're also helping to support an entire industry and way of life," says Pope. Try these recipes:

Turmeric Shrimp With

Hip Hummous

Turmeric Shrimp

1 lb Wild American Shrimp, cleaned

21/2 cloves garlic

2/3 teaspoon salt

1 small bay leaf

1/3 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice

21/2 cups water

2/3 teaspoon turmeric

3 tablespoons lime juice

pinch turmeric

1/3 tablespoon red chili powder

3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Place the peeled garlic cloves in a food processor with the salt and mince. Toss with the shrimp and set aside for 15 minutes. In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil with the bay leaf, 1/3 tablespoon lime juice and the 2/3 teaspoon turmeric. When the water is boiling, add the shrimp, stirring, and cook just until opaque, about 2-3 minutes at most. Do not overcook! Drain.

Immediately spread the shrimp onto a large baking sheet to cool, as they will continue to cook. Mix the additional lime juice, red chili powder and additional turmeric together and pour over the warm shrimp. Toss until well-combined. Add the chopped cilantro leaves to the cooled shrimp.

Hip Hummous

1/2 bag chickpeas

11/2 bulbs roasted garlic

1/8 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice

cup tahini

1 preserved lemon

2 avocados, ripe, remove pits & scoop out flesh

1 tablespoon curry powder

salt & pepper to taste

Place chickpeas in salted boiling water and cook until soft, about one hour. Drain in a colander and then puree in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Taste for seasoning.

NOTE: To make your own quickly preserved lemons: Lightly score 4 lemons all the way around (do not cut through to the flesh) and then boil in 1 cup water, 1 cup fresh lemon juice, 2 bay leaves, 1/2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns and 1/4 cup kosher salt until lemons are soft, approx. 30 minutes.

To assemble:

Mound the Hip Hummous in the middle of the plate and surround with the Turmeric Shrimp.


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