Hey ... Is My Blog Burning?
Yep, it's time for IMBB 6: Grilling and Barbecuing, hosted by the good folks at Too Many Chefs.
Here's the thing, though: I don't really grill, and I don't barbecue; both involve skill sets I never picked up, partly because I learned so much of my cooking in New Orleans, where cooking outdoors isn't exactly common or practical. I can't do it indoors, because my kitchen has no ventilation: as far as I can tell, the "exhaust fan" over my stove simply redirects the air from the stove towards the ceiling.
There are a couple ways I could cheat. I could do something slow-cooked in the oven, satisfying the spirit of the barbecuing half of the theme; I could do something which could be grilled; I could do a condiment or accompaniment.
But here's how I cheated:
Barbecue Shrimp Toast.
New Orleans' barbecue shrimp is an odd duck, from Pascal's Manale: it isn't barbecued at all, but it is shrimp. It's a great dish, but always frustrated me because it's so messy, seemingly needlessly: boiled shrimp, still in the shell, are tossed with a sort of New Orleans Buffalo wing sauce: butter seasoned with Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, Tabasco, and occasionally other things. You get the sauce all over you while you peel the shrimp, which then come out sauceless, so you have to dip them into the sauce all over your plate.
It's a weird thing, but good.
Shrimp toast, on the other hand, is a sort of fried sandwich with minced shrimp and sometimes a little pork -- it can be open-faced, it can be closed. It seemed especially common in New Orleans, where every Chinese place of the eggroll-and-fried-rice type had it; I have no idea if it's genuinely Chinese or not.
So I combined the two, like that game where you combine the movie titles: Seven Brides For Seven Brothers From Another Planet, Ruthless People Under The Stairs, Dude Where's My Car 54 (Where Are You)?
I don't generally deep-fry, partly because I keep forgetting to buy a thermometer and partly because it just uses SO much oil that I'd feel obligated to deep-fry often in order to reuse said oil. So these are briefly fried and then baked, which seemed the best way of cooking them long enough to cook the shrimp through. They took longer than I expected: a good twenty minutes.
For two sandwiches:
A healthy handful of uncooked shrimp, about 12-15 medium tiger shrimp.
A tablespoon or two of Worcestershire sauce.
A few teaspoons of Tabasco sauce, and it really should be Tabasco, Louisiana, or Crystal here: no other brand.
A few teaspoons lemon juice.
Dash of salt.
A few slices of prosciutto or similarly cured ham.
1 egg, separated.
Four slices of bread.
Butter for cooking in.
1 cast-iron pan or anything else you can transfer from the stove to the oven at 400 degrees. (A lot of oven-safe frying pans aren't recommended for use over 375, I've discovered lately.)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Peel the shrimp if necessary; toss with Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, and lemon juice. Marinate for 20 minutes.
In food processor (I use the chopper attachment for my immersion blender), chop shrimp with prosciutto, scallion, and egg white. Don't puree: if there are large chunks of shrimp remaining, chop them coarsely by hand.
Spread shrimp mixture on two slices of bread and cover with remaining slices.
Beat egg yolk with a little oil, heat butter in pan over medium to medium-high heat, and when the butter stops foaming, dip the sandwiches in the egg mixture (both sides, well coated) and fry in butter. You want to fry them just enough to set the egg on both sides and begin to crisp the bread.
Transfer to oven; bake for 20 minutes.
The result is only lightly flavored with the Worcestershire and Tabasco, so serve more alongside if you like: but the shrimp and egg white seem to emulsify somehow, becoming almost creamy, a trademark of shrimp toast if ever there was one.