Friday, September 12, 2008

Lemon Scallion Shrimp Bruschetta

Technically, bruschetta is not considered a meal. As a type, it falls into that wonderful collection of pre-meal dishes and substantial snacks for Italians, which includes such wonders as tramezzini, antipasti, and bruschetta. However, as is my usual inclination of changing habit from time to time to suit my tastes, I make this bruschetta into a full on meal of itself. Simply by making enough for 6 people as a snack, and dividing it between 2 for dinner. Add a little side salad, and ecco, cena.

I didn't come up with the idea for this bruschetta on my own. There are shrimp bruschetta recipes in at least 4 of my cookbooks. The difference between mine and theirs? No garlic. I use garlic with shrimp in many different dishes, and I wanted to change it up a little (surprise surprise). For the bread part of this dish I used small ciabatta rolls from Stop and Shop. They have a nice crust, but not too hard, and a soft airy interior that grilled up nicely in the grill pan.

So, the shrimp. I am crazy about the IQF (Individual Quick Frozen) Shrimp that comes in a bag. The best part of it is that it makes shrimp a pantry item in essence. And anything that makes my life a little more streamlined and efficient, I'm a fan of.

I counted out about 3 shrimp (I keep the medium shrimp on hand) per ciabatta roll half. I completely shell the shrimp (if you bought fresh, devein as well, the frozen ones are already deveined). In a saute pan, heat a couple TBS of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add a minced shallot and saute until translucent. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook just until pink and curled, but not cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add 1-2 TBS of butter, 1/3 cup dry white wine, the juice of one lemon (before juicing, run lemon across a microplane to get the zest to be used later), and about two-thirds of a small bunch of scallions sliced on the diagonal, 1/4" thick. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring frequently to keep the shrimp from sticking, until sauce is reduced by about half, and there is no discernable smell of alcohol in the sauce. This will take about 2 minutes. Just before sauce is done cooking, add a pinch of red pepper flake (or more than a pinch if you need to clear out your sinuses).

Meanwhile, slice the ciabatta rolls in half, brush with olive oil, and grill in grill pan (or place under broiler) until browned and beautiful. For the two of us, I used five rolls, giving us five bruschetta each. Place roll halves on a plate, place 3 shrimp atop each roll, spoon sauce over top. Add a little lemon zest, and the remaining scallions. Then dive into sweet, buttery shrimp with the perfect essence of lemon and green onion. Serve with the same wine you cooked with (I used Black Box Pinot Grigio), or a refreshing clean lager.

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