So, last night, David and I stayed in and had a movie night. We finally have the apartment to ourselves as the "roommate" finally moved out a couple of days ago (for more on the "roommate" check out my post the Ex Files at My Feet Only Walk Forward). And I decided to do a little fusion experiment in the kitchen.
Our friend Karlo Karlo was a gem super star and stopped by last week with a whole mess of freshly made sofrito, I had some shrimp thawed out, and I had purchased a beautiful finger pepper from the Amish Market near our apartment. I decided to build a recipe around these three items. I also had a package of button mushrooms, and since we were having a special night in, and both David and I were starving after having just come from the gym and gongyo, I thought appetizers were in order. Here is the menu from last night.
I will be uploading photos of the cooking process in a bit.
Lightly Fried Mushrooms
1 package button mushrooms
1 cup flour
1 tablespooon seasoning salt
1 tsp black pepper
two cups vegetable oil
In a medium size mixing bowl, mix flour, seasoning salt, and pepper. Set aside. In a separate small bowl, crack the egg, and mix it together so that the yolk and egg whites mix up.
Over a medium-high heat in a medium size sauce pan, heat your vegetable oil. After cleaning the mushrooms to make sure that all the dirty is off of them, roll each mushroom in the egg and then roll in the flour so that the mushroom is covered in a light layer of batter. Then drop the mushrooms into the oil. Fry the mushrooms for about seven or eight minutes. The crust should turn a golden brown and be very light and flaky. Make sure to move the mushrooms around while they sizzle.
Remove from the pan and lay on a plate covered with a paper towel to soak up some of the extra oil. Sprinkle with salt and enjoy.
This tasty little treat feeds two people with about four to six mushrooms each and will cost you $2 to $3.
And now on to the main event.
Fusion Shrimp Stir Fry
1 lb frozen or fresh uncooked shrimp
1 finger pepper
1/8 cup shredded fresh ginger
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup sofrito
1 tbs garlic pepper sauce (optional)
1/2 soy sauce
20-30 pieces of okra chopped up
1 large sweet red bell pepper
1/4 cup Goya olives with capers
1 cup white wine (cooking wine or Sauvignon Blanc)
1/4 cup olive oil
So, first things first, make sure that you thaw out the shrimp (once again, Trader Joe's has GREAT large frozen shrimp, pre cleaned with only the tails on). Remove the tails from the shrimp. They should just pull right off. Set the shrimp aside.
Mince your garlic and the finger pepper. If you have a cheese shredder, use that to shred the ginger. And then chop up your scallions. Make sure you chop up a part of the darker green leafy section of the scallions as well.
Also, make sure your okra and sweet red bell pepper are chopped into bite sized pieces and set aside.
In a large wok, heat up your olive oil. Once the oil is nice and toasty, add in the ginger, garlic,scallions and finger pepper. Let these sizzle and pop for about four or five minutes. This allows the flavors to mix with the oil. It also allows the garlic to carmelize, which brings out a fuller flavor.
Add to the wok your shrimp, soy sauce, garlic pepper sauce, and olives with capers. You can find the garlic pepper sauce in most grocery stores these days in the Asian section. It's a clear bottle with a rooster on it and a green cap. It's great stuff. Also, in that same section, you can find the Goya Olives with Capers. Be careful, the olives still have pits, but they have a great flavor. Then add your sofrito. You can buy sofrito from the store, but I do not recommend it. It isn't difficult to make, and you can freeze it. There are many good recipes for making sofrito on the web. Make sure it is Puerto Rican sofrito with recao.
Keep the shrimp and the mixture moving in the pan to ensure that all the flavors are mixing and the shrimp are coated. After about a minute add the okra, sweet red bell pepper and the white wine. Keep stirring the food for about five to six minutes. Once the shrimp have turned pinkish/orange, cook for another minute or two, and then remove from the heat. You don't want to overcook the shrimp or they will be dry.
This stir fry makes a rich sauce that is a little thicker than other stir fries. Serve the stir fry over brown rice and enjoy. The mixture of Caribbean and Asian flavors in this dish are pretty damn stupefying. So good.
This dish will comfortable serve three to four people and will run you $9-$16. The price range spread is based on your access to large uncooked shrimp. Again, Trader Joe's is your friend.
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