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Italian Shrimp Toast
Some gift ideas and many excellent recommendations!
We’re headed next door tonight to toast all good things (Colu Cooks was included in the National Post as one of the best books of 2022!) with Kelly and Chris. I’ve been very into sipping this Lucien Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace Rose NV lately, which also pairs perfectly with this week’s recipe, Italian Shrimp Toast. See what I did there?
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Before we dive in to the recipe, I wanted to share a few things that perhaps might make nice presents for people.
Boonville Barn Collective is a woman-owned farm that’s been producing unique chile powders for 10 years in the resource-rich Anderson Valley in Northern California. Piment d’Ville is their signature, California-grown version of the coveted Basque Piment d’Espelette. I made a roast chicken on Sunday night and slathered it over the chicken mixed with some olive oil. It was one of the best chickens I have ever made. As a token of my appreciation for you being here, please use the code COLU10 to get 10% off your order until 12/19. Trust me on this one.
I’ve been friends with Zwann for a few years now and she is wonderful, kind and hilarious and also happens to be the former wine director at Olmsted. She launched a wine club awhile back and it just expanded to be nationwide! Zwann will pick out 3 bottles each month. Instead of zoom tastings, you’ll have access to videos with Zwann, the winemakers, and other friendly wine people talking through the selections. She’s got great taste and you can sign up here.
I’m sort of obsessed with these Italian cocktail glasses that Food52 is selling on their site. Each is sold as a set of four or you can get the whole kit and caboodle of 16. You know which option I’d choose…
Sorry, I had to! You can now purchase signed copies directly from my website and I will ship them to you. For Christmas deliveries, please order by 12/19 to ensure they get there in time.
Moving on! I have friends doing wonderful things. A not so humble brag that two of my dear friends both have incredible shows on Showtime right now! My friend Jonah Markowitz is the production designer for George and Tammy with Jessica Chastain and Michael Shannon, I loved the first episode. My other darling Jarred Alterman is the cinematographer on the gripping Spector doc, love this one too! And last, but, certainly not least, my lovely Katie Tetrault has been doing some very beautiful collage art, her show The Dream Before is up now at The Morton Street Gallery in Framingham, MA.
On a more sentimental note, I was saddened to hear the Bob McGrath from Sesame Street passed away this week. I loved him so much, my mom hung a signed picture of him in my crib. Yes, my crib. I put on the Christmas Eve on Sesame Street album last night to hear his beautiful Irish tenor voice and got weepy. If you haven’t watched this Sesame Street special made in 1980, I highly recommend it for the wee ones. I watch it every year still.
OK, how about that recipe? I know that took awhile today, lots of ideas of her at CCHQ!
Italian Shrimp Toast
This recipe is inspired by the Cantonese dim sum dish from Hong Kong. In lieu of Asian flavors, I take this one in the Italian direction, making a paste of shrimp,‘Nduja, fennel seeds, lemon zest and some other traditional aromatics. If you want to keep this pescatarian leave out the ‘Nduja and add in a small pinch of smoked paprika. They are incredibly delicious! These toasts are rich and work well for a casual (or not) cocktail hour, which you might be hosting this season.
Serves 4 to 6
Time 20 minutes
6 ounces shrimp, preferably wild, peeled and deveined
1 ½ ounce ‘Nduja (optional)
1 small shallot, halved
2 cloves garlic
1 sprig rosemary, leaves stripped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 2-inch piece lemon zest
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil, plus more for shallow frying
6 slices white sandwich bread, such as Pepperidge Farm
5 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 lemon for serving
1 tablespoons, finely chopped chives or mint
In a food processor pulse together the shrimp, ‘Nduja, shallot, garlic cloves, rosemary, fennel seeds, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, salt and olive oil. Scrape into a bowl.
With a small offset spatula or spoon, smear the shrimp paste on one side of the bread. Repeat with remaining slices.
Pour the sesame seeds into a low sided bowl or plate. Dip the bread shrimp side down into the sesame seeds, pressing the bread to make sure they evenly adhere to the shrimp mixture..
Heat the oil in a deep sided skillet over medium-high heat. You want enough so that when you add the bread, it comes up halfway. Sprinkle a bit of salt into the oil to make sure it is hot enough, if it sizzles you’re ready to shallow fry.
Add the bread shrimp side down, working in batches to not overcrowd the pan. Cook, 1 to 2 minutes until golden. Flip and cook one more minute more.
Place the toast onto a paper towel lined plate and season with flaky salt and allow to cool for a few minutes. Plate on a platter or large dish and a good squeeze of lemon. Scatter with chives. Pass the toasts with cocktail napkins and more lemon wedges.
A NOTE: Should you want to get ahead of things, you can make and freeze the paste a few days beforehand. Allow to come to room temperature before spreading, of course.
See you soon!