Shrimp Piccata and Tapa’s night for August.


We had our monthly Tapa’s Night this past Saturday, and as usual had fun as well as enjoyed some great food.
I made a Shrimp Piccata as my contribution this month, as well as putting out a couple other items.

And I will share the recipe a little later.   I’m kicking myself I didn’t get pictures of the awesome Pineapple Surprise cake or the Carrot cake that was brought, but hey, it’s my party and I can have fun if I want to, and forget to take pictures sometimes.

So here goes:

Zucchini Bake

This dish was so light and flavourful, so good.

The Spanish Omelette was really good as well, and I didn’t get a picture of the Sofrito sauce that was to be served with it.      I thought the omelette was pretty just on its own.

Spanish Omelette
And doesn’t this Charcuterie platter look pretty.   It also had some awesome smoked salmon in the center, you can sort of see them in between the crackers.
Charcuterie platter
Smoked Grouper Cheeks, Smoked Amberjack and Quail Eggs. It has been years since I’ve had quail eggs so seeing them and eating them well, I was a very happy person.    Danes also love smoked fish, well, many of us do, so to have some smoked fish, well, I was in heaven.  I kept heading over to the platter and snatching a bite or two.
I could just envision them with a nice slice of fresh french bread and a glass or two of Akvavit, with a beer chaser. sigh.   Sorry, got side tracked there.
Sliced lunch meats
Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

There were some stuffed Cherry tomatoes, and they were so tasty as well.   I was in awe that someone sat and did this, but don’t they look pretty?

Smoked Fish, Ciabatta Rolls and dipping oil
Kugel

I love Kugel, and helped myself to a generous spoonful, I tend to eat this whenever I see it.
Another friend brought these large beans and told me this is common dish served in Greek taverns, and it was delicious as well.

Greek Taverna Beans

We also had some great dark fudge, which made some of us very happy.

Filled crescent rolls

And these little rolls, with a filling.  I’m such a sucker for, and really enjoyed the one I had.

So now for my contribution.
I had a heck of a time trying to figure out what I wanted to make this month.   I knew it should be something with shrimp, I’ve been craving shrimp lately, but what to do with it?    It wasn’t until I was driving into town to get the shrimp that I finally decided.   What a relief.   I had thought of making Shrimp Scampi, but dismissed that idea.   Then it dawned on me, Shrimp Picatta!  I love Chicken Picatta and make it on a regular basis, and the combination of lemon, butter, capers and shrimp just seemed like it would work.    So I bought three pounds of fresh shrimp, some lemons and went home.

I prepared the shrimp by shelling and de-heading them, and went to make up a nice boil to poach them in.  Realized that I didn’t have any Old Bay seasoning, but I didn’t let that stop me.  Not much stops me anyways, when it comes to cooking something.    While I was preparing the boil, I dumped some ice on top of the shrimp to keep them cold.   (I use a fair amount of disposable aluminum baking pans, you can buy them at Sam’s Club for about $7 for 30 of them.  I use them to cook my dog’s food and to serve them their food, less clean up for me.   And if I use a pan for shrimp, like I did here, I just wash it and use it for the dogs,   I do wash and re-use the pans as much as possible as well, until they break down)

I got out a pot and put some plain water in it, then added some cayenne pepper, a couple of cloves of crushed and roughly chopped garlic, a bottle of beer, a bay leaf and some lemon juice.  Brought it to a boil and let it simmer for a few minutes so that the flavours would infuse together.   Tasted it and it was bland, so I added a small handful of lightly crushed peppercorns and a little salt, maybe a half teaspoonful, and some more lemon.   Let that come to a boil and tasted it again.  This time it had flavour.
While it was boiling I got a bowl out and put some ice into it, because after poaching the shrimp for a couple of minutes, I wanted to dump the shrimp into some ice water to stop the cooking process.   Nothing worse than a chewy over cooked shrimp.

You can see the bowl behind the pot of water.

I them dumped the shrimp into the boiling liquid, turned down the heat a little, let the shrimp turn pink and removed them with a slotted spoon and placed them on ice.   Very important to not over cook shrimp, they turn tough and rubbery.   You want them to ‘pop’ a little when you bite into them.   Only cook them for a minute or two.

Since my guests weren’t expected for another hour or so, I just quick cooled the shrimp, by tossing them with the ice,  then placed them into the fridge so I could finish them off later.   Oh and by the way, I did devein them as well after they cooled down.  (Note to self, next time, you need a lot more shrimp than you realize when you have to prepare them this way,   I may just buy them already deviened and shelled the next time.)

Before the guests arrived I made the sauce I wanted to reheat the shrimp in.    I melted one stick of butter in the pan, added a couple of cloves of minced garlic, a half cup of white wine, juice of one lemon and about 2 tablespoons of capers.  Also added a half a lemon in slices.   Let that simmer for a couple of minutes, tasted it and added another half cup of wine and more butter.   And it was good.

I then placed the shrimp in the butter sauce and let it warm over low heat until the shrimp were warmed through before I served it.   And it was popular.   I even caught a person dipping some of the slice Ciabatta rolls in the sauce and eating that.  OK, so it was me dipping the bread, but hey, the sauce was that good.  And there weren’t any shrimp left anyway.

Here’s the recipe for the boil and the Picatta Sauce

Boil
1 quart water
1 bottle beer
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 cloves garlic, crushed and roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
Juice from one lemon
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon salt, if desired.

Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes so that the spices can infuse into the water, taste and adjust the seasonings.   This will taste spicy, but it really doesn’t make the shrimp all that spicy, just adds a nice kick.    You can also use this spice mixture for a peel and eat shrimp boil.   Add the shrimp and let it come to a boil, but only cook the shrimp for a minute or two,  they just need to turn pink.

Piccata Sauce *

12 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup white wine plus 1/2 cup white wine **
juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons capers
2 minced garlic cloves
6 lemon slices

Simmer all of this together until the wine reduces by half, then add another half cup white wine, let that reduce a little, add the shrimp and stir it together until the shrimp warms through.   You don’t need to cook the shrimp, just warm it up in the sauce.   Serve immediately.

*I would serve this with a nice basmati rice or short grain rice or some bow tie pasta for a meal.  And you can use the sauce for chicken as well.  Nothing like a multi purpose sauce. giggle.
** You can substitute chicken stock here as well, the wine adds a nice note of flavour however.   And if you use chicken stock, use the low sodium.

Judging by how quickly the shrimp disappeared, I would say people liked this.

And I also served some sliced Ciabatta Rolls with some dipping oil and some sliced lunch meat, for those who wanted something more.

As usual, we had a great time, and got to try some good food as well.

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