Sunday, January 3, 2010
I am scanning every cookbook and food rag I own, trying to come up with innovative ways to make clean-tasting, healthy and yummy food. I'm also flipping around the Food Network, looking for inspiration (and avoiding Paula Deen and Emeril like nobody's business; I watch those shows and can feel my ass getting bigger. Guilt by association, or something).
One thing I noticed about Bobby Flay--he almost always dresses something with a "viniagrette" or a "mojo." And those dressings are usually flavor-packed and utilize olive oil. I think I've seen Flay use butter once. Now olive oil isn't low calorie, but it's a much healthier fat than butter. I also like Flay's penchant for bold, clean flavor--you aren't going to see him whipping up a casserole with cheese and soup.
And of course, we at Chez T. love our spicy things, so we do not fear the Flay-Man.
I decided to try my own hand at making a Flay-esque dish. I wanted something with a little heat, something to cool things down, and some fresh, crunchy substance to anchor the dish.
I'm telling you, I was doing a herky and a backflip after I tasted my experiment. This sucker is so good that you'll be doing the Yummy Dance* after the first bite. It's got a lot of ingredients, but honest, it's not that labor intensive, and this thing impresses. Despite the peppers called for, this isn't an overly spicy dish; the creamy avocado and the sweet mango temper the heat. It's a gorgeous balance.
Spicy Shrimp, Avocado and Mango Lettuce Wraps
inspired by Bobby Flay
1/2 cup olive oil
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded
1 poblano pepper, roasted and peeled and seeded**
2 cloves garlic
1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 red or yellow bell pepper, roasted and peeled and seeded**
1/4 cup mango nectar, such as Kerns
squeeze of lime
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup rice stick noodles, cooked as per package directions
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, thinly sliced and drizzled with lime juice
1 ripe mango, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
12-15 leaves green, red or romaine lettuce, washed and spun dry
Combine all ingredients for marinade in a food processor. Pulse until well combined. Set aside, at room temperature, for one hour.
Reserve 2 tablespoons marinade; set aside. Pat shrimp dry with paper towels. In a medium bowl, toss shrimp with remaining marinade and let sit for 15 minutes (only 15 minutes! If you marinate longer, the shrimp will get mushy.)
Meanwhile, cook rice noodles as per package directions; rinse in cold water. Toss with sesame oil and set aside, covered.
Slice mango thinly and set on platter with lettuce leaves, cilantro, and avocado (spritzed with lime to avoid discoloration)
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and stir-fry until just pink. Remove from heat, drizzling pan drippings over shrimp.
Place a lettuce leaf on a flat surface. Cover with a thin layer of rice noodles, avocado and mango. Top with 2-4 shrimp, depending on size. Top with cilantro. Drizzle a bit of reserved marinade over, roll up, and enjoy!
* A post on the phenomenon that is the Yummy Dance is forthcoming.
**To roast peppers, hold them over a gas flame until blackened and charred. If you don't have a gas grill, you can toss the peppers with a little olive oil, put on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast at 450 degrees, turning occasionally, until skin is blistered and blackened, about 20-30 minutes.
Place blackened peppers into a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let sit 15 minutes. Skin should peel off easily then; remove stems and seeds.