7.2.09

girls gone wild.























Mara and I (mostly Mara, I acted as consultant) updated an old favorite last night, Mark Miller's chipotle shrimp with corn cakes. To be Perfectly Frank, our extension of this is quite a bit more thrilling than the original (having made and enjoyed the original 8 or 10 times, I can say this with just enough authority).

I myself enjoyed (another perfectly executed) dinner at J-Kim's last night (Marcella's onion fritatta and some penne with tuna, courgette, and a touch of cream), but sat down to this leftover chipotle fiesta for breakfast, and along with a couple of cups of black coffee it launched my rockets with complete effectiveness. Maybe it seems like an odd thing to have for breakfast, but consider the components, yo: orange, cornmeal, buttermilk, butter, tomato...see? Totally breakfast.

I think the thing that really sets this apart from most of our cooking is the complete lack of spices involved. It's somehow vibrantly complex without them (maybe because there are 4 separate recipes involved?), and the overall impression is one of sweet butter and shrimp, tangy buttermilk, tart orange and lime, fresh mint, and a bit of smoky spice from the chiles and raw onion.

As for our documentation that follows: for now I am only including the What and not the How, because we will remember the How. Also, due to winter lighting, our photos of the actual food are less than colorrific. Behold last night's presentation:























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shrimp with chipotle, orange, and mint + buttermilk corn cakes.

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smoked tomato and orange sauce
1 can chopped tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp roasted garlic paste
1/2 cup orange juice
1-2 tbsp adobo sauce from the chipotle can, depending on hotness
1 tsp smoked paprika
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp orange zest, minced

buttermilk-scallion corn cakes
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp unrefined sugar
1 1/4 cup buttermilk or a tiny bit less
1 egg
1 cup of corn kernels
1/4 cup scallions, chopped

chipotle-orange butter
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup orange juice
2 chipotles, whole
salt to taste

tomato-mint salsa
1 cup diced fresh tomato
3/4 cup diced orange segments
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
2 tbsp scallions, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
salt to taste

15 shrimp (16/20), peeled, deveined, and halved lengthwise

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Serves 2-3. Maybe 4.

Basically: make the "smoked" tomato sauce by putting the can of tomatoes, a bit of salt, and the garlic in a pan over very low heat and reducing for an hour or so, checking after 30 minutes to make sure you're not running out of liquid; if you are, you can add the butter and orange juice at this point.

When the tomato sauce is sufficiently reduced (you know, so it tastes like tomatoes and not acidic red water), add everything else and reduce for another 30 minutes or so. I would start with a small amount of adobo and work your way up until you can just taste it. When it's done, cool, and puree. This is the sauce in which you will saute the shrimpies.

I think everything else is pretty straightforward. The chipotle butter is made by simmering the chipotles in the butter and orange juice for 10-15 minutes on very low heat, for kind of an infusion.

It's very important to make sure the salsa has enough salt and lime or it will be boring. We made it about 2 hours before serving and that seemed to be a nice amount of time for the flavors to come together.

Final cooking and plating: make corn cakes, keep warm in oven if necessary; saute shrimp in smoked tomato sauce for 2-3 minutes; put a corn cake on plate, top with shrimp, drizzle with chipotle butter, put salsa on the side, devour.

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4 comments:

Klary Koopmans said...

that looks really, really, really good.

MEM said...

It was really, really, really good, in that way that you can be surprised by your own cooking, or by the flavors of a dish you've had many times before but still evokes the feeling you had the first time you tasted it.

I think these flavors just love each other, and this dish is a nice way to let their romance blossom without acting like a meddling parent by throwing cumin or cinnamon or thyme at them. You know what I mean.

MEM said...

Also, if you guys want to come over after Neko...we'll make it for you.

Klary Koopmans said...

that sounds just about perfect.