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Maine Shrimp Toasts with Romesco Sauce

by in Jan 2013

Total Time: 50

Yield: 5 servings

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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Instructions:

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.
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Updated Monday, December 3rd, 2012
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