Is it fair to tell you about some amazing, OMG recipe that’s fried … in the first week of the New Year when diet resolutions abound? I hope so, because I just can’t not tell you about this one. First of all, it’s called Battered Shrimp. Ho-hum name, right? With both beer and vodka in the recipe, it is henceforth called Booze Battered Shrimp. There we go. Much better.
This recipe comes to us courtesy of Alex Guarnaschelli. She of Butter Restaurant fame, and her two Food Network shows, Alex’s Day Off and The Cooking Loft. I have a friend whose personality reminds me of Alex. Something about her just causes you to slow down, take a deep breath, and chill. Watching Alex on TV is like that. She’s calming, slow, deliberate and appreciative of every bite she makes. I’m all for someone whose personality forces us to slow down a bit. Slow down and savor.
When I saw her make this shrimp recipe the other day, I knew it would be perfect for our New Years’ Eve Seafood Feast. The batter is one that she uses at her own restaurant, and it could not be simpler to make. In 15 minutes, I was taste-testing the first piece. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and still a nice bite to the shrimp itself. OMG, so good.
She didn’t mention any dipping sauce, but I love having a dipping sauce with some things, and this one screamed out for one, in my humble opinion, of course. I ended making one with honey mustard and a little bit of light sour cream, and it was perfect. A nice cooling bite against the crispness of the shrimp. My mouth is watering again just thinking of these babies.
Diets be darned. Make a batch of this and share if you must. Invite some friends over for an appetizer party on your cheat day and dig in to a plate of these. You won’t be sorry.
Now, on a completely separate tangent, one of my New Years’ goals is one that you’ll have to indulge me in. I decided to take a stab at the 365 Project. It’s simple really. Take one picture every day. Someone described it as a “rich visual history” of your life. Love that. There are some special albums being offered as a nice way to print out and display your photos, but for now, I’m going to be brave and restrain myself. I’m behind enough on getting photos into albums! I’ll just be putting them at the end of my daily posts here. I think it’s a great way to document a year (obviously some photos will be more mundane than others – our life is not always that exciting!), and an easy way to practice my photography skills and relive 2010 when it’s all done. I’m a big proponent in documenting memories. Some little ones. Some big ones. And all the in-between-you’ll-forget-ones, and this is just another way for me to do that. Some days I’ll include a description with the photo. Some days I won’t. Since today is the 4th, I’ll need to put four here to catch-up, but here goes.
Friday, January 1, 2010
Photo by Nick
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Nick is into skateboarding, and got a new skateboard and helmet recently. I need to preface this photo by saying Madeline has never seen Nick wear a helmet while skateboarding, but before anyone could blink an eye, she grabbed the helmet and fastened it onto her head, stood on the skateboard and looked at me and said “push.” Such a smarty pants! She cracked me up.
Monday, January 4, 2010
Madeline loves this tractor that my parents gave her for Christmas. If you push a button in the front, it goes by itself. Madeline, however, had other uses for it.
Booze Battered Shrimp
Recipe courtesy of Alex Guarnaschelli
1 (8-ounce) bottle beer (recommended: Heineken) (I used Corona)
1 (2-ounce) “shot” vodka (the cheaper the better)
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little extra, if needed
1 tablespoon paprika
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound “16/20” size shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails attache
freshly ground black pepper
4 cups vegetable oil
About 20 basil leaves, stemmed, washed and dried (I used sage)
1 lemon, thinly sliced
Pour the beer into a medium-size bowl and stir in the vodka. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of the flour and the paprika. The batter should be fairly thick, but also easy to stir. Set aside in a warm place. “Press” the garlic clove into another bowl and stir in the olive oil and shrimp. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Set aside. Pour the oil into a heavy-bottomed pot (or, alternatively, a deep-fryer). Heat the oil slowly to 370 F. Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature (I skipped this and used the wooden spoon trick; to test the oil, put the end of a wooden spoon in the pot. If bubbles form around it, it’s hot enough). Line a baking sheet with a kitchen towel or paper towels to drain the shrimp once they are cooked.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. (I skipped this and the next step with the basil, and just wrapped the sage around each piece of shrimp before dunking in the batter)
Arrange the basil leaves on a sheet pan. Put the pan in the oven for 2 minutes, just to wilt the basil a bit, if the basil is young and tender this step is not necessary. Wrap a basil leaf around the middle of each shrimp like a belt. When ready to serve, dip the shrimp into the batter and drop, in small batches, into the oil. Fry until crispy, turning on both sides with a slotted metal spoon. Add the lemons into the oil and fry until crispy. Drain them on the lined baking sheet and season immediately with salt. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately.