Sunday, November 16, 2003

Peter Canlis Shrimp

I spent the day worrying my way through a short story. It just isn't behaving right now - I want to just finish it and then go back and fix everything, but my mind is being too literal and linear - I have to research cooperage extensively before I can put a long-handled bung hammer in one of my character's hands (We're talking barrel-making here - get your mind out of the gutter). Kate was similarly wrapped up with her tax prep studies. So about 5:30 Kate sat down in my office, declared she had no idea what we were going to do for supper, and would appreciate my input, seeing how I had purchased YET ANOTHER cookbook the day before.

So we went through The Northwest Best Places Cookbook (Vol 2) and settled on something that we had in the house. In this case it was Peter Canlis Shrimp (Page 46), an appetizer that we spun into a full meal, in a manner that would cause the restaurateur to fling himself from the balcony of his stylish and excellent restaurant if he even found out (so please don't tell him).

The recipe calls for about a dozen large shrimp, but we had a frozen bag of 40-count, so they served instead. We had the dried pepper flakes and even a fresh lime to squeeze. But instead of vermouth, all we had in the house was sake, so we made an odd replacement. Used the shells to make a Shrimp Butter that was extremely tangy.

The end result was interesting - I'd like to run it again with the vermouth. The sake had almost a "hollow" taste, but sake tastes like an absence of flavor as opposed to a strong flavor itself to me. The heat of the dish was about right - 1 teaspoon of pepper flakes was more than sufficient. We served it on salad and with fresh bread. It was nice, but then any dish that used a full stick of butter has a lot to recommend it.

Cooking is often the art of replacement and improvising, and this is an example of that. Still, I want to try the real thing now, as a result of this experiment, and figure out how its SUPPOSED to taste.

More later,