Thursday, March 14, 2013

Roasted Shrimp, Avocado & Salsa'd Tomato Nibble

Apps... the edible kind (not the mobile)... are the last thing I think about when I'm thinking about a dinner party (the mobile kind aren't even in the equation). And... even if it's just a nibble and drinks... I'm thinking of something simple.

Typically, it's something that has good flavor and... if even one offering... offers another option. Something like the artichoke-onion-tapenade I favor. You can grab a toast and some cheese; grab a toast and some veggies; or, do the whole thing up as a little bruschetta.

This little shrimp bite falls into this simple... yet versatile... nibble.

It's a great little bite (or two, or three). A crisp, home-fried, white corn tortilla wedge topped with a lime-infused chopped of fresh avocado, some salsa'd cherry tomato quarters, and an oven-roasted south-of-the-border-spiced prawn.

Put the whole thing together as one presentation; plate up the components separately and nibble a chip with some avocado, or a chip with some tomatoes; or grab a shrimp all on its own.

Simple, appealing, versatile.... a good app.

Roasted Shrimp, Avocado & Salsa'd Tomato Nibble
makes 16 to 20 complete appetizers

1 pound 16/20 jumbo shrimp, shelled, cleaned and deveined (tails intact, if preferred)
3 avocados
1/4 to 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, divided
12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 to 4 tablespoons salsa, as preferred (if using store bought... I prefer Emerald Valley- Medium or Hot)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
5 white corn tortillas
canola oil, for frying

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place cleaned shrimp in a bowl. Add olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, cumin, coriander, paprika, and cayenne pepper to shrimp; gently toss to coat shrimp. Arrange shrimp on a baking sheet, in one layer, and roast in oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until pink (8 minutes works for me every time).

Meanwhile, slice avocados in half and remove pits. Using a spoon, remove avocado flesh from each halve and dice into approximate 1/2" cubes. Place diced avocado in a bowl, add 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice and approximately 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, to taste. Mix well to combine. Set aside. (You can also add come freshly chopped cilantro, red onion, or green onion, as preferred.)

Place quartered tomatoes into a small bowl. Add salsa to tomatoes, along with a pinch of salt, to taste. Mix well and let sit while you prep tortillas.

Heat approximately 2 inches of canola oil in a saucepan, on high. Test heat by immersing edge of one tortilla in oil (using tongs). If tortilla begins to sizzle... you're ready. Drop 4 to 6 wedges into hot oil, turning in oil with tongs to ensure even browning; cook until just golden, 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on heat. Remove to paper towel covered sheet pan, sprinkle with a little kosher salt. Continue with remaining tortilla wedges.

Remove shrimp from oven when ready. Let shrimp cool to room temperature and then drizzle with some freshly squeezed lime juice.

To assemble nibbles, top each tortilla wedge with a spoonful of avocado and 3 or four salsa'd tomato quarters. Nestle one shrimp on each avocado-topped tortilla and serve.

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