Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ashley's Pickled Shrimp and Bayona Caesar Salad

I really wanted to make a few Southern meals from my Susan Spicer cookbook for Mardi Gras.  Only I am going to be skiing in Colorado during Mardi Gras.  So it looks like I will need to pack in a few Southern recipes in the next week or two before I leave.  This is the first meal that I have picked from the cookbook.  I know that this recipe doesn't exactly scream Mardi Gras.  I briefly considered making a gumbo or a jambalaya, but I'm just not that big of a fan.  So I decided on pickled shrimp for tonight and maybe a po'boy later in the week.  And if I make a third meal it will have to include grits.  There is a recipe for a Grilled Andouille Po'Boy "Creolaise" in the Susan Spicer cookbook that seems to fit the bill perfectly.  So I think that once I track down some andouille sausage, creole mustard and some "New Orleans-style French bread" (which I'm not even sure that I can find in the city), we are going to make some po'boys!  In the interim, this will have to do.

Alex and I disagreed over which component of the meal we liked more.  I was all about the Bayona Caesar Salad.  If you grilled or roasted up a few chicken breasts (or maybe some shrimp, but I think the chicken would work just a little bit better) and threw them on top it would make a really fantastic entree salad.  I really enjoyed the flavor of the homemade caesar dressing and the combination of the arugula and romaine.  We accidentally left out the anchovies because we didn't realize we were out until we were basically plating the salad.  And by that point neither of us were at all interested in running out to the store.  Without the salty, nutty flavor of the anchovies the salad dressing was fairly light (but still very flavorful).  I think with the addition of the anchovies you would end up with a deliciously rich, nutty caesar salad.  Oh and take the time to make the croutons at home.  All you have to do is take a baguette, chop it into cubes, toss in a little evoo (or butter) and kosher salt, and roast in the oven at 350 degrees F for like 7-8 minutes.  It's totally worth it.  As for the shrimp, they were really tasty too and quite easy to make.  In Alex's words  he had more things he would want to tweak/change about the shrimp than the salad, but the shrimp still excited him more.  I also would have made a few changes to the marinade in particular - cut back on the amount of sugar and red onions, and add some more crushed red pepper flakes and coriander seeds.  Oh and Alex and I both thought that the shrimp would be better if it was a little spicier.  But what else is new?

Recipes after the jump!

Ashley's Pickled Shrimp
Adapted from Crescent City Cooking: Unforgettable Recipes from Susan Spicer's New Orleans
By Susan Spicer

For shrimp: 
1 lemon, quartered
1 bag crab boil (if you don't have crab boil use 4 bay leaves, 1 tbsp coriander seeds, 1 tbsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, 2 tbsp kosher salt)
2 lbs medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined, with tails intact
For marinade:
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup apple cider or red wine vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp capers
2 bay leaves, preferably fresh (we used dried because it was all we had)
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Place a large pot containing about 1 gallon water over high heat.  Squeeze the lemon quarters into the water, then drop them in.  All spices, seasonings and bring to boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, add shrimp, and return to boil.  Cook until shrimp are cooked, about 3-4 minutes.  You will know the shrimp are cooked because they will become opaque and the tails will turn bright pink. 

Meanwhile combine all marinade ingredients in a large bowl.  Whisk together.  Set aside.

Drain the pot well and transfer the still warm shrimp to the bowl of marinade.  Marinate the shrimp for at least 15 minutes or store them, covered, in the refrigerator up to one day before serving.

Bayona Caesar with Arugula

For dressing:
1 raw or coddled egg yolk, optional
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
2 tbsp minced shallots
3 garlic coves, minced
1 cup pure olive oil
1/4 cup evoo
For salad:
1 hear romaine lettuce, leaves cut in half lengthwise and then into bite-size pieces
1 bunch arugula, washed and stemmed (teat into pieces if leaves are large)
4 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1/2 cup homemade croutons
shaved Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese, as desired
1/2 recipe Bayona Caesar Dressing (about 3/4 cup)

Whisk together everything but the olive oils and s&p in a medium bowl.  Slowly whisk in the oils, until the dressing is emulsified and creamy.  If it gets too thick while you're adding the oils, whisk in a tsp of water, then continue adding the oil.  Season to taste with s&p.  Alternatively, you can puree the dressing ingredients in a blender.  Set aside.

Toss together the romaine, arugula, anchovies, croutons, cheese, and dressing.  Top with more cheese, if desired.

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