I always like it when I get requests for a dinner party, because it makes it easier to choose what to make. In this case, the request was something with shrimp and garlic. Because of the season I looked for autumn flavors that would work well with shrimp and garlic. As shrimp are earthy and sweet, pumpkin seemed a good choice. Especially since I still had some pumpkin puree in my refrigerator leftover from making bacon-wrapped scallops with pumpkin. To add some crunch that would work well with both shrimp and pumpkin and stay within the autumn theme, I decided to include almonds. And finally just a bit of lime and chilli pepper to add some excitement. The dish turned out well, it was delicious and well appreciated. Here’s what I did…
For 4 servings
About 500 grams (2 cups) pumpkin puree (click here to find out how to make it)
28 medium shelled and deveined shrimp, about 175 grams (6 oz)
50 grams (1/4 cup) almonds with skin
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and chile powder (preferably New Mexico), to taste
fresh lime wedges
Combine a tablespoon of olive oil with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, and 2 minced garlic cloves. Stir to mix.
Add the shrimp, and stir to mix. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to marinate.
Toast 50 grams of almonds (with skin) for 8 minutes in the oven at 180C/350F. Allow them to cool, then chop them roughly.
Cook 500 grams of pumpkin puree in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat until thickened and reduced to about half. Then season to taste with salt and New Mexico chile powder. (New Mexican chiles aren’t very hot but they have a very nice earthy flavor.)
Use 5 cm (2″) ring molds to arrange the pumpkin puree on individual plates.
Arrange the almonds on top, then remove the ring moulds and bake for 5 to 10 minutes in the oven at 180C/350F to warm the pumpkin puree through and toast the almonds.
Meanwhile, cook the shrimp in a non-stick frying pan until golden on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Do not overcook the shrimp, it should just be cooked through.
(I prefer to rub off most of the garlic first, as it will burn easily and cause a bitter flavor.)
Take the plates with the pumpkin and almond out of the oven, arrange the sautéed shrimp alongside, and drizzle some freshly squeezed lime juice on the shrimp. Garnish with a wedge of lime.
This will work with a complex white that can handle the earthiness, the sweetness, the chilli, and the lime. A riesling would be an excellent choice, especially a Spätlese Trocken. When in doubt, choose a sparkling wine.
Chinese eggplants are thinner, have a milder flavor, and a more smooth texture than regular eggplants. Combined with chicken, ginger, soy sauce, and chili, it makes for a great dish.