Our condensed list includes Kung Pao (beef is my favorite, but Hubs often chooses the shrimp) at The Homesteader, The Special Cucumber Roll at Sushi Masa, Pan-fried Walleye at The Wild West, Betty Davis pizza at Charlie's Pizza House, Fried Pickles at Sanford's, The Big Easy breakfast at Phillips Avenue Diner, and to top it all off...Cajun Shrimp Tortellini at Rumors.
When we first dined at Rumors, it was only Frank Day's Bar ("Fine Dining" sign made of plywood and tacked up in front beside a sign recommending the entertainment). Since the days of just a long, skinny, vintage-mirror-clad dining room seating maybe 20 people, they have gone through several expansions, chefs, and menu changes. At times, the food has suffered. Unfortunately, we have returned from several dinners at Rumors feeling both ourselves and our wallets thinner. Then, our hopes will be brightened by a few visits where it seems that Shelley has things back under control. We will be sucked back in only to be hit in the gut with a poorly executed meal again. I miss the old days of the mini loaves of home-baked bread and the original samplings of wonderfully to-die-for Cajun Shrimp Tortellini. Those meals will always be standouts as the best thing I ever ate, and I hope that they return.
So...you think I am going to share the recipe for Cajun Shrimp Tortellini. Sorry, but I am not. While I have made it at home a few times, I would rather save this as a dish for going out...something to look forward to and enjoy with friends dipping onto my plate to savor the creamy, spicy, deliciousness.
Today, I am going back to The Food Network show that prompted this post. With Chopsticks: The Best Thing I Ever Ate featured Slippery Shrimp from Yang Chow in Los Angelos. While I have never been to Los Angelos to sample the real deal, that didn't stop me from searching online for the recipe. Shrimp dredged in corn starch and fried before being tossed with a spicy sauce sent Hubs and I into drooling fits. I had to make them.
While the shrimp should traditionally be served with rice, I took a cue from Buffalo Chicken recipes and lightened the meal up a little by serving them over a salad. This has become a favorite meal during the long, hot days of summer, and certainly worthy of a mention on The Best Things I Ever Ate (at home) list.
(adapted from Epicurious)
1 pound large shrimp
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 cups oil (or enough to have about an inch or so in your pan)
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons water
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger root (use the microplane to grate it)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2-3 tablespoons ketchup
1-2 tablespoon Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce (this makes it HOT)
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon white wine
2 tablespoons Agave syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
1 large carrot, sliced into ribbons
1 medium cucumber, sliced
4 green onions, sliced
Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimp. (I removed the tails just because it was easier to eat on our salad, but leaving them on makes a pretty presentation.)
Toss the shrimp with 1/4 cup cornstarch to completely coat the shrimp. (Make sure you "open" the butterflied section and coat the entire shrimp.)
Combine the remaining 2 teaspoons cornstarch with 2 teaspoons water in a bowl and set aside.
Pour the oil into a large, wide pan (wok would be perfect, but I use my Le Creuset braiser) and heat over medium heat until hot.
Add the shrimp in batches and deep fry until golden about 45 seconds, turning the shrimp as needed to crisp all sides.
Set the shrimp aside on a cooling rack over a baking sheet or on paper toweling to drain.
Drain the oil from wok, leaving 1 tablespoon.
Reheat the wok and stir-fry the garlic, ginger, and red pepper.
Stir for a few seconds (this will only take seconds or the garlic & ginger may burn), then whisk in the ketchup, Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce, vinegar, wine, Agave syrup, salt, 1/4 cup water, and the reserved cornstarch mixture.
Cook and stir until the sauce is thick.
Add the shrimp, toss until covered with sauce.
Meanwhile (or even before you start cooking the shrimp) chop the lettuce, use a vegetable peeler to make ribbons of carrot, slice the cucumber, chop the parsley and chives, and slice the green onions.
Toss all together and arrange on salad plates.
Top with the Slippery Shrimp (may drizzle with a creamy dressing, if you choose, but I think the shrimp add enough flavor to the salad).
Serves 2 as a main dish salad and 4-6 as a side.