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Southwestern-style shrimp with shrimp mousse recipe

Food For Thought
By Deborah Lee Walker | Nov 30, 2017

(Dec. 1, 2017) The word “appetizer” has become very generalized and a quick review defines specifics accordingly.

Finger foods are self-explanatory; anything that can be picked up with one’s fingers. An appetizer is a small dish of food or drink taken before a meal to stimulate one’s appetite. Hors d’oeuvres are one-bite dishes that are either served stationary or passed around. They can be served with or without a meal.

Canapes are a small decorative food that is in essence an hors d’oeuvre and served during cocktail hour.

An amuse-bouche is a single, bite-sized hors d’oeuvre that became fashionable during the days of nouvelle cuisine and has been gaining in prominence and complexity ever since. Amuse-bouches are different from appetizers in that they are not ordered from a menu but are served gratis by way of the chef.

Amuse-bouches are making their way into the homes of non-professional cooks. These amazing pre-dinner bites or sips are a delightful surprise and can be one of the most memorable moments of the meal.

Amuse-bouches are served both to excite one’s palate and to offer a glimpse into the chef’s approach to the actual dining experience. In addition, if one entertains and is unsure how your guests will receive a certain dish, reduce it and serve it as an amuse-bouche for feedback.

Espresso cups, small plates, oversized white porcelain spoons such as Chinese soup spoons, are just a sampling of the vessels that can be used to encase amuse-bouches. Amazon is a good place to start looking for such items.

But remember, just because these samplings are very small they still should follow the protocol for proper plating. Height, color and texture must be considered.

Scaling, a plating technique in which an element is meticulously layered into a scale like pattern, is very fashionable and can produce stunning results.

Get in touch with creating your own artistic vision for your dish. You are the artist and the plate represents a blank canvass. Take the time to fill the space with careful planning; every added element must have purpose intended.

Details are crucial to amuse-bouches. Something as simple as plating off center can produce dramatic impressions.

Cooking techniques can influence how you present an amuse-bouche. For example, if a small cut of meat shows off a nice sear, plate it in such a way that showcases this particular feature.

The next month is going to be filled with celebratory gatherings. Southwestern-style shrimp with shrimp mousse will dazzle family and guests. Following are two preparations; a simple presentation for those whose time is limited and a more advanced option for cooks who prefer a greater challenge.

Each dish will require the seasoned shrimp and shrimp mousse. Incorporating the intricate garnishes distinguishes the second alternative. Enjoy!

Seasoned Shrimp

Toss 1 pound of steamed shrimp (31-40 count) in 2 teaspoons taco or other Southwestern seasoning. Set aside and refrigerate until ready to use.

Shrimp Mousse

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

½ cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon powdered gelatin

¼ cup water

1 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise

1 cup whipped cream cheese

2 teaspoons tomato paste

kosher salt to taste

1. In a saucepan, bring shallots, garlic, wine and vinegar to a light boil and reduce until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, combine gelatin and water. Let bloom for 5 minutes. Melt gelatin mixture in the microwave for 5 seconds. Allow gelatin mixture to rest for 15 seconds and microwave for another 5 seconds.

3. In a food processor, puree shrimp, shallot mixture, gelatin mixture, mayonnaise, cream cheese, tomato paste and salt.

4. Place shrimp mousse in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Garnishes (Optional)

sour cream

smooth guacamole

fresh cilantro

finely diced red onions

finely diced Roma tomatoes

Simple Presentation

Pipe shrimp mousse into the base (center) of the Chinese soup spoon. Place 1 seasoned shrimp on top of the shrimp mousse. Place the shrimp so it is vertical, this increases the height range.

Place the soup spoons on a platter that will match the soup spoons, make sure the soup spoons are in unison. Add a taco dusting to each amuse-bouche.

Advanced Presentation

Pipe shrimp mousse into the base (at one end) of the Chinese soup spoon. Using a different piping bag, pipe a smaller amount of pureed guacamole right next to the shrimp mousse. Using a third piping bag, pipe a tiny amount of sour cream right next to the guacamole.

Place fresh cilantro at the other end of the base of the Chinese soup spoon. Top with 1 shrimp, just like the one in the simple presentation. Add tiny amount of finely diced Roma tomatoes and finely chopped red onion. Add a light dusting of taco seasoning and fill tray artistically.

This dish can be made a few hours ahead of time and should be refrigerated. Covering the shrimp amuse-bouche will be difficult due to the intricate nature of the presentation.

Secret Ingredient - Respect. “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

— Abraham Lincoln

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