Monday, March 8, 2010

Shrimp (For Murph)

A few weeks ago, when I was at Ix Tapa Cantina with my friend Murph, he fell in love with the shrimp we had. I admit they were pretty good - and certainly a nice deal at $3 - but they weren't anything that special. He has gone back several times and eaten them since then, and I have promised him that I would make him some shrimp one day that would eradicate those happy hour shrimp from his mind. 

Saturday night, Murph asked if we wanted to do something for dinner Sunday night and watch the Academy Awards. He offered to pick up some food and bring it over. Of course, we had no intention of watching the awards - we're not much for awards shows and, at any rate, Sleuth Channel was showing an all-day marathon of the final season of The Unit. (Remind me again why that show was cancelled and yet 24 marches on, despite not being exciting in four years.)

But I told Murph he was welcome to come over and hang out with us and I would make him shrimp. This made him happy. ("Fantastic!" was his response, which is quite possibly the first exclamation point I have seen him use in several years of friendship.) He picked up some Pacifico - this wasn't a meal that called for wine - and came over in the late afternoon. 

I had a bag of Argintinian red shrimp from Trader Joe's. I wrote about these back in 2008: they are the best frozen shrimp I have ever had. They taste very much like lobster and, at $8.99 for a bag, are a great deal. I marinated them for a couple hours in lime juice, olive oil, and chopped cilantro. I mixed together some additional cilantro in a bowl with roasted red pepper, jicama, pasilla pepper, mozarella and jarlsberg cheeses.

As an appetizer I put out some seared ahi tuna from Fish King. I had not had these in a long time; I'd forgotten how good they are. When the indoor grill was hot enough I threw the shrimp on. They cooked rapidly, no more than one minute on each side, and I took them off to cool down a little. I put the ingredients from the bowl into tortillas and grilled them, but I was excited for Murph to try the shrimp so before the quesadillas were ready I fixed him a small plate, topping some red pepper strips and grilled jicama with a handful of shrimp and cilantro. He said they were excellent, and definitely better than Ix Tapa. 

The quesadillas took a few minutes on the grill. When they came off I sliced them and served them with shrimp in the center of each plate. I added a few slugs of Louisiana hot sauce to mine for some extra kick. These were very good, however I should have added more pasilla pepper to the mix. I did not realize how mild pasilla is. Perhaps I should have used jalapeño instead. Next time, for sure. 

There was no episode of Huell Howser or new cartoons last night, so we actually ended up watching a fair amount of the Academy Awards. It was the first time I had watched them in eight years and they were every bit as boring as I remembered. 

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