I have a bad habit.
While I often don’t cook from recipes, I have a magpie
approach to recipe ideas. My mind goes
around gathering tidbits of ideas and putting them in little hidey holes until…
one of them overflows and I suddenly HAVE to make what ever it is.
Something it clicks immediately and I have to make something
right away. This was the case with last
weekend’s tuna tartar. But even that
waited for 4 days while I plotted and planned.
Other dishes percolate in my head for months or sometimes
even years before I manage to make them into reality. Sometimes it’s because the last shiny bit
hasn’t dropped into that particular recipe hidey-hole. Other time it’s because I am afraid to try
the recipe and then face a mound of leftovers for days on end that are OK but
everyone seems to just forget to eat.
The bad habit comes into play when an idea suddenly catches my interest.
When everything clicks into place with a recipe I have to
make it now now now! This usually
happens when I am already starving and it is already late for dinner. This is usually why most of the recipes I
make up are quick cooking.
These shrimp toasts were no exception. This time it was Emeril who provided the final spark. He was doing an all shrimp show. And as it happened I had shrimp defrosting for dinner and BAM the two came together. Next thing I knew the shrimp were in the mini food processor and I was well on my way to making shrimp toasts.
I did make a most fascinating discovery though. I bought a beautiful bunch of cilantro at the farmer’s market but I didn’t want to waste the pretty leaves on what is essentially a shrimp past, so I cut off all of the stalks and tossed them into the food processor. While they added a certain odd green color to the paste, the flavor was incomparable. Sweeter and milder than the leaves they flavored subtly while providing a hint of toothsome crunch. They complimented the shrimp perfectly.
Love at first bite.
It was the kind of recipe where you add a little bit of this
and a little bit of that and it all just works out. I even had some rosemary bread to use as the
base of the toasts. It was so perfect
that next time I make this I might just have to add a pinch to the mix. And I will be making this again.
They were even great reheated in the toaster over the next
day for lunch.
2-3 Slices of bread
1/2 pound shrimp
Stems from 1 bunch of cilantro
2 teaspoons Mirin (Japanese Rice Wine)
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
1 egg white or 1 tablespoon silken tofu
1/4 teaspoon Chinese hot mustard or wasabi powder
1/4 teaspoon five spice powder
Chopped chestnuts or jicama chopped small (optional)
Couple of cilantro leaves for decoration
Salt and pepper to taste
Place everything except the bread and the optional
ingredients into a food processor and blend until a smooth paste forms. Place into a small bowl, stir in optional
ingredients and cover. Set aside for 30
minutes to allow flavors to meld.
Pour a couple of spoonfuls of canola oil (or another neutral
oil) into a frying pan and heat on high until oil is shimmering.
While the pan is heating, cut the bread in half and spread
with a generous layer of shrimp paste but no more than the thickness of the
Press a cilantro leaf into the surface of the paste and
place shrimp side down into a frying pan. Lower the heat to medium and fry until golden on both side and the
shrimp past has puffed slightly.
If the initial frying does not completely cook the paste,
lower the heat to medium low and cover for a few minutes until cooked
Serve warm over a simple salad.
With the bread cut into quarters, this would make a great appetizer! The shrimp past could be made the night before and fried a bit before serving. They are fine at room temperature or warm.