Monday, 8 July 2013

Drunks from the Bottom of the Sea!

Gamberi al Vodka, con Insalata di Risoni, Piselli, Menta & Limone
Vodka Shrimp with Risoni, Pea, Mint & Lemon Salad

Oh, I know you are going to be disappointed, because there wasn't all that much vodka that went into this dish if truth be told- but it doesn't take all that much to get drunk if you are a shrimp! And the title did grab your attention, didn't it? Well, now that you're here, I may as well tell you a little bit more about it after all- why don't you pull up a chair and make yourself at home?

Basically, it was the minty pea, lemon and risoni noodle salad that was my main objective this evening- but being as that would neither make an interesting enough blog offering you all of you readers out there, nor a satisfying enough supper for a hungry designer who hadn't eaten all day... I had to improvise something scrumptious to go with it!

Let me start with the risoni, or as I think they are more commonly called in the USA "orzo" noodles... these went into a saucepan, 2 cupfuls of them, along with a good pinch of salt, for 8-9 minutes, according to the instructions on the bag. Strangely enough, they seem to take longer time to cook than their size may suggest- but that's ok as it gave me time to chop up my other ingredients.

A handful of snow peas, cut into a fine "julienne", a little parsley and about a handful of mint, both very finely chopped and a few slices of lemon zest that had been blanched for a minute or two beforehand, cut into very fine strips and a half of a small onion finely sliced. Basically- that was all there was to it! That was all it took to make 2 nice portions of salad. 

Once the risoni were cooked, I drained off any excess water and added all of the finely chopped ingredients whilst the noodles were still piping hot. I added a splash of olive oil, salt and pepper, the juice of half of the lemon, a pinch of sugar and just a drop or two of sesame oil and tossed everything together... the end. Seriously- that was all there was to it- the only other ingredient needed was time for everything to cool off and for all of the flavors to infuse and combine together... and in the meantime- it was time to grab those shrimp and to grab a glass to get them drunk :-)

For the shrimp, all I needed to do was to make a cut into them along the outside edge, which was also useful for cleaning them, and then rinsing them and letting them drain and dry a little. I prepared a couple of slices of ginger and garlic, a piece of vanilla pod and a piece of star anise, which I would use to perfume the shrimp whilst frying and got my pan nice and hot, with a pat of clarified butter sizzling away  and me ready for action!

In went everything at the same time, along with a little salt and after a minute or so, a pinch of sugar. After around 3 minutes, the edges of the shrimp were beginning to turn a lovely, toasty color and that was when I added my shot of vodka to deglaze the pan. I do not cook over an open flame and the frying pan was not that hot- but still- don't be surprised if you get a puff of blue flame from yours if you try it at home on a gas stove! it will soon go out and the alcohol will soon boil away- indeed, the vodka in itself will soon be evaporated to nothing... but it will have infused into the shrimp and they will be as delicious as mine were!

I served up the shrimp, piping hot, on a bed of the risoni, mint, lemon and pea salad, with some crushed pink pepper corns and a squeeze of lemon juice... and boys and girls- let me tell you they tasted pretty fantastic! You know what you need to do now... the rest is up to you! But should you try this- then do your best... and enjoy!

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