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Monday, January 7, 2008

Shrimps on Fire

I started teaching my sons how to cook when they were barely tall enough to reach the kitchen counter. The first thing anyone needs to learn is good knife skills. I still remember his mom looking in horror when she walked into the kitchen to find me showing 5 year old Frank how to use a 10" chef's knife to chop Italian parsley. No blood was spilled that day, but the quality of my parenting was a topic of discussion for many months afterwards.

When Frank went away to UC, Santa Cruz, I put together a cookbook with recipes I thought would be quick, easy, and economical. Periodically I'd get calls from him for cooking tips, like the time he was in Costco and he wanted to know what he could do with frozen red snapper, since it was on sale for $1.35/lb.

What's really fun is when the student becomes the teacher.

On one of his trips home, Frank taught us how to make shrimps wrapped in bacon, an appetizer he used to make for parties. Hors d'oeuvres are my favorite part of the meal. Nothing is better than little bite sized taste treats. For a vision of heaven, check out Mark Bittman's episode of his Best Recipes in the World about tapas in Barcelona.

Frank's bacon wrapped shrimp is on my 10 Best Appetizers list. Since I can't resist tweaking any recipe, I added a bit more flavor by coating the shrimps in a seasoned olive oil marinade, otherwise, the recipe is his.

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 pound shrimps (25-35 count/lb.), washed, shelled, deveined
10-12 strips of bacon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, peeled, finely chopped
1 shallot, peeled, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, washed, finely chopped
Toothpicks

Method
Heat the olive oil in a pan and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sauté the finely chopped parsley, garlic, and shallot in the olive oil until lightly browned. Let cool.
Spoon the seasoned olive oil over the shrimp. Toss well and let sit for 30 minutes.

Get organized so you can work assembly-line.

Cut the strips of bacon into 3 equal pieces. Toss the shrimp again, then take one shrimp and lay it on the piece of bacon, rolling the bacon around the shrimp. Take a toothpick and push it through the bacon-shrimp-bacon to hold it together. Set aside and do the rest.

Using tongs, put the shrimp on a hot grill and close the hood. If you're using an oven, set it at 450 degrees and put the shrimp on a wire rack over a cookie sheet.

Turn every 2-3 minutes so they cook evenly and don't burn, about 10 minutes. Serve on a platter with napkins.

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