While some mix metaphors, Alisha Randell mixes cuisines. To her, there is something pleasurable in finding an unexpected flavor in a classical dish.
By Alisha Randell
These days there are a multitude of cleaver concoctions based on this classic appetizer. The origins of this dish seem to be a little muddled, but according to this site I ran across while trying to gather more information http://foodtimeline.org/foodlobster.html#cocktail it appears to date back to the early 20th century United States. Traditionally this appetizer consists of cooked peeled shrimp served with a spicy ketchup/catsup or tomato based sauce.
I have chosen a salsa based sauce for our cocktail of tomatillo and grape. For a bit of taste-bud tantalizing we through in some French brandy and Cambodian lemongrass curry spice. Cambodian cuisine has a mixed influence of French and Chinese with their curry dishes showing influences from India. So as you can see we are taking quite a cultural culinary tour with this dish…
Along with our shrimp cocktail I served a cheese filled tortilla roll. For my cheese selection I used Midnight Moon, a firm aged goats milk cheese. This is high on my list of favorite cheeses with a smooth mouth feel, hints of salted caramel and prominent nutty brown butter undertones.
- For the salsa:
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro
- 1 small bunch red seedless grapes, halved
- 6 tomatillos, husked and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 red chili peppers, chopped and seeded
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1 fresh lime, juiced (reserve about 1 tsp for shrimp)
- 4 Tbs (59 ml) French brandy or cognac
- 1 tsp (5 ml) olive oil
- ½ Tbs (7.3 ml)Cambodian lemongrass curry seasoning
- ½ Tbs (7.3 ml)cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Food processor or blender
- For the shrimp:
- 12 raw colossal shrimp, peeled and veined tail on
- 1 Tbs (15 ml)olive oil
- Splash of French brandy
- 1 tsp (15 ml)lime juice
- 1-2 pinches cayenne pepper
- Pinch of salt
- 1 shallot
- 4 skewers
- For the rolled tortillas:
- 4 large tortillas
- 2 Tbs (29.5 ml)butter
- 1 cup (250 ml)midnight moon cheese, grated
- Begin preparing your salsa by roughly chopping all produce and placing in a large food processor. (If using dry chilies, reconstitute in warm water until soft)Reserving a few grapes halved to add to processed salsa, if desired.
- Slowly add liquids while the processor is on, adding more if needed. Add cumin and curry,continuing to blend until fully incorporated. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside stirring occasionally.
- Heat grill to 375 degrees f ( 190 c).
- Place shrimp in a large bowl along with olive oil, brandy, lime juice, cayenne and salt. Toss until shrimp is coated.
- Alternating between shrimp and shallot, place on skewers.
- Place on grill about 4-5 min each side or until shrimps begin to char slightly and are pink.
- Now prepare your cheese tortilla rolls by buttering one side of each tortilla and place on a sheet of foil. Add ¼ of cheese to each tortilla and roll.
- Place the foil with the tortilla roll onto grill until browned on each side and cheese has melted.
Alisha Randell is a former Executive Chef turned Private Chef and Culinary Instructor. She is the Co-Creator/Author of The Ardent Epicure blog “An Ode to the Pleasures of Food”. Growing up with a dad as a culinary guide, whom was as well an executive chef, food and seeing food as an art form has been a lifelong passion and exploration.