By Yankee Magazine
Dec 03 2012
Maine Shrimp Toasts with Romesco SaucePhoto Credit : Piazza, Michael
Tiny, sweet North Atlantic shrimp are a winter-only treat, with a season that usually begins in January and ends by mid-February. They’re often called “Maine shrimp,” but they’re hardly confined to state borders, and you can find them in New Hampshire and northeastern Massachusetts as well. Here, we’ve cooked them in a classic romesco sauce made with almonds, tomatoes, peppers, and bread. They’re delicate, though, so don’t overcook them. Served over toast, they make a delicious lunch or light dinner entrée.
Note: Many people like to eat Atlantic shrimp with the shells on. It’s less labor, and it gives a dish more flavor. However, the texture does get a bit crunchy. Peel if you like; just budget 15 minutes of the above time estimate for prep work.
1 slice (about 2 ounces) crusty bread, preferably light sourdough
1/2 cup whole unsalted almonds
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 whole peeled canned plum tomatoes, plus 1/3 cup juice reserved
1 roasted red pepper (from a jar)
2 medium-size garlic cloves
1 teaspoon paprika
1-1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1-1/2 pounds North Atlantic shrimp, heads removed, peeled or unpeeled (see “Note”)
1-2 tablespoons water (optional)
10 slices toasted crusty bread
Garnish: 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, divided
In a medium-size skillet over medium heat, toast bread and almonds in oil until golden brown; the bread will take about 2 minutes per side, nuts 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer both, with oil, to the bowl of a food processor. Process until bread and almonds break down to a fine meal, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides once as you go. Add tomatoes and reserved juice, red-pepper, garlic, paprika, lemon juice, salt, and sugar. Pulse until mixture forms a sauce.
Pour sauce back into the skillet and set over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook 1 minute; then turn off heat and let cook another minute, stirring, until translucent. The sauce should have the consistency of Greek yogurt (thick but not firm). If needed, add 1 or 2 tablespoons water to thin. Serve on toast slices. Garnish with about teaspoon parsley on each.