We had the most amazing grilled shrimp with crusty bread and a saffron onion sauce the other night. It seemed like simplicity itself but the result was, well, simply fabulous.
I made a large crusty loaf of bread – I’m very excited about the bread I’m making these days. I had reached a plateau for a while but suddenly around about the time that I broke the food processor trying to knead breaddough, I made a huge leap. I’m not exactly sure what changes I made to my technique but whatever they were, the bread is consistantly quite stellar. Crusty and chewy on the outside with a dark gold hue and inside is chewy and moist – but not too moist – with a good variation in the size of holes. I have a feeling that the biggest change I’ve made is to use an instant read thermometer to check the inner temperature of the bread when I think it is done. I continue baking until the bread reaches a little over 200F. Here is the recipe that I follow: Italian country bread
We decided to feature the bread with an appetizer of grilled shrimp. T first sauteed finely diced smoky ham in olive oil til it lost most of its moisture. Then he added diced onion and sauteed them til they were almost golden. He added minced garlic, a tiny bit of saffron, some chicken stock powder and water and left it to simmer for a few minutes. Then he took it off the heat, covered it and let it sit on the stove top til it was almost time for dinner.
Just as the dinner hour approached and guests were chatting and having aperitifs, we reheated the bread in a hot oven. (oven preheated to 400F, then turn off before placing the bread on the middle rack for 10 minutes)
The shrimps were deveined but left whole (heads off) and tossed in a bowl with some roughly chopped bokchoy and a good splash of olive oil. These were then grilled on the barbecue in a barbecue wok – the kind made of castiron with holes. While the shrimp were being barbecued, the onion mixture was put back on a low heat to warm. When the shrimp were done, T dumped the greens and shrimp into the onion mixture and tossed them to cover well with the sauce. The bread was cut and put into a basket. Portuguese Mateus Signature Douro 2004 was poured into glasses. And we served the shrimp in shallow white soup bowls, the emerald green of the bokchoy was the perfect contrast to the rosy hue of the shrimp. and even though the wine was a very light straw colour, it was fresh and grassy. We dug in, licking our fingers and mopping up any stray bits of that wonderful sauce with hunks of crusty bread.
As I said, it was simply wonderful!