March 9 – March 15, 2020
Monday: Stuffed Cabbage with Lemony Rice and Sumac
Tuesday: Lentil Kielbassoulet
Wednesday: Vinegar Chicken with Oranges and Sour Cherries
Thursday: Shiitake Steamed Buns
Friday: Hilda and Tim’s for Iron Born Pizza
Saturday: Wedge Salad with Shrimp and Bread Crumbs
Sunday: First Cookout with Greg and Mike, Andrew, Rick and Annie:
Ricotta Toasts with Veg/Shrimp App, Grilled Brats, Mere’s Fancy Beans, Cole Slaw, Vanilla Frozen Custard with Fudge Sauce
We are keeping all of you, family and friends in our thoughts and our prayers. We thought we’d share some whimsy and humor with you, because we think it helps at times like this. If you don’t think so, understood, and apologies for this silly post – but no apologies for the great salad recipe to follow.
Well, strictly speaking, you could call this week’s dish sautéed shrimp with as much truth as I have called it a salad.
There we were, last week, happy as clams (the liquor stores and restaurants were still open) and we thought our mini-vacation to Amelia Island would still happen and . . .Well, a lot has changed since then.
In an act of senseless cruelty, Governor Wolf of Pennsylvania, ordered that the flowers I had ordered to be delivered to Beez on our anniversary could not be delivered. Could he have discovered that I didn’t vote for him? And then the state closed down the liquor stores which through some casuistry the Governor had decided were “non-essential.” Is he using the same dictionary as I am?
Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, shoppers began tearing through supermarkets like a plague of locusts through Pharaonic Egypt. Which made us leery, on Saturday, about dealing with the crowds and the germs at the supermarket. We had had a great dinner the night before at Hilda and Tim’s, followed by wonderful conversation, then Tim’s somewhat erratic selections from Quello’s concert streaming service and, finally, after enough refreshment had made the rounds, dancing and general silliness.
So, you can see that we didn’t need much to eat, nor did we, in fact, deserve much. But there was half of a bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer and we had some iceberg lettuce and a loaf of bread and then I ran across a recipe (or rather the picture of a recipe) for something called Wedge Salad with Shrimp and Old Bay Seasoning and, well, I had to cook it. And I did cook it, and I am excited to pass this excellent and surprisingly filling dish along to you. This is neither your mother’s salad nor her sautéed shrimp – and that’s a good thing, because her lettuce would have been way beyond wilting by this time and her shrimp would have been positively toxic.
SHRIMP WEDGE SALAD WITH OLD BAY BREADCRUMBS AND HOT SAUCE DRESSING
(adapted from Food & Wine, March, 2020)
Timing: 30 minutes, after your shrimp is thawed
Ingredients: Serves 4
20 peeled and deveined raw large shrimp – about 1 lb. – if you have shrimp smaller than #20, just use more.
Iceberg lettuces cut into 4 wedges – you’ll want a medium-sized head, not one of those whoppers available in most stores – something like 1 ¼ lb.
1 ¼ cups fresh breadcrumbs (we used more – about 1/3 of Giant Eagle’s Italian loaf was perfect)
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
½ Teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
½ cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoon whole milk
4 Teaspoons hot sauce (we used Frank’s – you wouldn’t want really hot sauce, such as Tabasco here – or, if that’s all you have, I’d go with 1 ½ teaspoons.
Capers for granish
½ Teaspoon kosher salt
½ Teaspoon black pepper
Your shrimp will be frozen – so put them in a large bowl under running cold water for 10-15 minutes to thaw, then put some ice in the bowl and a handful of salt. Let them sit for 15-20 minutes in the salted ice water. [This is my advice, not in the recipe – but it works,] This will help them plump up. Now pat them dry – work on this, you want them as dry as possible. Give each one a gentle squeeze – you don’t want to tear the shrimp and use lots of tea towels or paper towels – there will be a lot of water in the shrimp.
Pulse the bread, leaving on the crust, in a food processor, until you have crumbs around ¼” – some outliers will be, maybe, ½” at that point.
Measure out the other ingredients – but hold off on slicing the iceberg until you’re ready to assemble.
Cook Shrimp and Breadcrumbs:
In a non-stick skillet (12” or larger) heat the oil over medium-high, or a tad lower if you have a high-btu burner. When hot, add the shrimp and cook until pink and cooked through – about 2 minutes per side for large shrimp, less for smaller. Now sprinkle the shrimp with salt and pepper, remove from the skillet and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the breadcrumbs and the Old Bay seasoning and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown – 4-5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. NOTE: I did not use Old Bay and our breadcrumbs were spectacular. They pick up the taste of the shrimp – I had them on eggs the next day.
Make the Hot Sauce Dressing:
Whisk the mayonnaise, milk and hot sauce until smooth.
Assemble and Serve:
Remove any rusty or wilted leaves from the head of lettuce, cut into 4 wedges and shave off the core.
Arrange wedges on individual plates, top with the shrimp, the dressing and then the breadcrumbs. Garnish with capers. Enjoy.