Mike's New Recipe for August, 2011
When I was searching for inspiration for this month's New Recipe, my brain quickly went to shrimp. I'm not exactly sure why. I've spent most of my life being significantly grossed out by shrimp. Watching friends and family dunk these cold bug-like things into some ketchup variant always creeped me out.
So what is changing now? Is it a subconscious love for shellfish brought on by watching too much Deadliest Catch? Am I just looking for something fun to put on our shiny new grill? I'm not sure, but I used that inspiration to find a Guy Fieri recipe on Food Network's iPad app; prosciutto-wrapped grilled shrimp on an arugula salad with a balsamic reduction.
It was a relatively easy choice for me. Wrap the out-of-my-comfort-zone ingredient in some nice prosciutto, mix with a balsamic reduction, and I'm sold. This was actually a bit of a two-day recipe, as it calls for some homemade pickled onions. They came off mostly without a hitch. Only major mistake was while I was wrestling with the red pepper container. Let's just say I intentionally made the onions spicier than the recipe called for. Yeah. That's it. It was all part of my master plan.
Checking on the onions the next day was exciting. They came out great and I enjoyed trying them a bit before working on the rest of the dish. The next step was to make the marinade for the shrimp. This was made with white wine, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and more crushed red pepper. It went together quickly. Mixing ingredients is something I can handle.
While the shrimp marinated, I threw the balsamic on the stove to reduce. As it was simmering, I asked Heather for some advice on when it was reduced enough. She made it very clear that it would easily coat a spoon. I, for some reason, thought it wasn't necessary to listen to my wife's advice.
As it was simmering, I started to get paranoid that the arugula salad was going to be too bland and flavorless. My brain thought the solution to this would be to not let the balsamic reduce as much. If it was looser and less reduced, that would mean more dressing that would coat the salad easier, right? Ugh. I guess this is why I need to cook more.
At this point, the shrimp had been marinating for the 20 minutes that the recipe called for. It was time to break out the prosciutto and start wrapping and skewering them. This was a laborious process. I ended up running out of prosciutto with about five shrimp left. Not too bad considering.
Throwing the shrimp on the hot grill was easily the most satisfying part of the process. The sizzling. The smell. Basting them with the marinade. I burned my fingers a bit when I flipped them. It actually still hurts. I guess I just thought I should suck it up and start trying to build up some cook's fingers.
The shrimp cooked quickly and then it was time to start putting my plates together. I put the arugula in a bowl and topped them with all of my pickled onions. I then poured the majority of the balsamic (not so) reduction on top and tossed with my hands. A generous helping of salad went on our plates. I pulled about a dozen shrimp off the skewers for each plate and put them on top. Following the recipe, I then drizzled more of that balsamic on top.
The result? An intensely vinegary plate of greens and shrimp with some spicy pickled onions. Heather was very polite and praised my efforts but it was obvious that my failure to fully reduce the balsamic vinegar was a critical mistake. I did enjoy the shrimp, but I think the prosciutto had a lot to do with it.
You just read one of Upstate Crumbs' monthly New Recipe posts. Every month, Mike and Heather will each make a post about a new recipe. For Mike, it will usually be an adventure in trying to learn to cook. For Heather, she'll pick something that is outside of her comfort zone in some way.
Mike on August 10, 2011 at 9:53pm EDT