Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Shrimp, Apples, Peanut Butter

A recent episode of Chopped required the contestants to create an appetizer using peanut butter, Granny Smith apples, and shrimp. I knew I could create something successful with that combo, so I tried it last weekend.

First I made a sauce with peanut butter, brown sugar, fish sauce, coconut milk, Korean chile pepper, lime zest, and ginger.  I remembered how delicious the apple salad was from the time I made Lisa Fernandez' strip steak, and wanted to do a simpler riff on that. I didn't have apple juice to make an apple reduction, so I used a caramel sauce instead. We had a jar of good-quality caramel in the fridge, so I warmed some up and added the juice of half a lime and a squirt of fish sauce.  This I tossed with two Granny Smith apples, cut into batons. (Next time, I would cut them into matchsticks. In the brownish caramel sauce, they looked too much like french fries.)

Finally, I marinated a pound of colossal shrimp in one clove of crushed garlic, a teaspoon of veg oil, and a splash of soy for 20 minutes.  These went into a hot sauté pan for about 5-7 minutes, until cooked through.

I put a puddle of peanut sauce on the bottom of the plate and used a ring mold to make a base of rice. On this I put a handful of apple salad. Around the rice went some shrimpies. To add color and some oniony bite, I garnished the dish with some chopped scallion and sliced shallot.

Mr Minx mixed up some cocktails with some leftover coconut milk, banana nectar, lime juice, and rum. 

The dish was a big success. The salty/sweet/earthy peanut sauce was a perfect foil for the garlicky shrimp and jasmine rice, and the tart apple salad with a hint of sweetness was refreshing against the richness of the seafood and sauce. The banana colada was a nice tropical touch.

I guarantee I wouldn't have been "chopped" for creating this dish, and I definitely plan on making it again.


Miss Ginger Grant said...

I'm sure it was delish but it seems like a lot of rigamarole to make shrimp- I think shrimp are the food of the gods, and they don't need a whole lot to make them FABULOUS!

theminx said...

Well, the shrimp themselves were pretty darn easy - toss them in a bowl with garlic, soy, and oil, then cook them in a hot pan. Alone, they would have been scrumptious over a bit of pasta dressed with extra virgin olive oil and S&P.

Angel said...

I would never in a million years think Shrimp and peanut butter! But the picture looks yummy!!!

Anonymous said...

Sometime I hope they make the judges compete in that contest. They make Toby from Top Chef look like Fabio i personality. I don't think they'd like anything they were presented.