Shrimp with Ginger in Sweet Potato and Sauce ▶
Caramel serves as the base for both the sweet potatoes and the sauce for this appetizer. The secret is that the sweet potatoes are in fact white potatoes, sweetened and colored with the caramel. The sweetened potato mash is used to anchor seared shrimp. The sauce combines gingerroot and tamarind juice with spices and creme fraiche, giving a real wallop of taste to the dish.
- Sweet Potatoes
- Sugar - 1/4 cup
- Hot Water - 2 tablespoons
- Onion - 1/2, minced
- Potatoes - 3 large or 4 medium, boiled, peeled, and riced
- Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Hot Water - 1/4 cup
- Fresh Gingerroot - 3-1/2 ounces, minced
- Peppercorns - 1 teaspoon
- Mustard Seeds - 1 teaspoon
- Whole Cloves - 3
- Red Wine Vinegar - 1/4 cup
- Tamarind Juice - 1/3 cup
- Ginger Jelly - 2 tablespoons (alt.confit)
- Creme Fraiche - 3/4 cup
- Freshly ground sea salt and pepper
- Balsamic Vinegar - 1 tablespoon
- Shrimp - 32, large
- Olive Oil - 1/4 cup
- Sea salt
- Pickled Ginger - 20 to 30 thin bits of pickled ginger
- Chives - 20, whole, fresh
To prepare the sweet potatoes: Put the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Cook until the sugar begins to turn amber, about 310 F. Do not stir the sugar during this time; swirl the pan to blend. Reduce the heat to medium. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the onion and cook until the onions are softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in half of the potatoes until well blended, then stir in the remaining potatoes. Set aside; keep warm.
To prepare the sauce: Put the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Cook until the sugar begins to turn amber, about 310 F. Do not stir the sugar during this time; swirl the pan to blend. Reduce the heat to medium. Stir in the gingerroot. When blended, add the peppercorns, mustard seeds, and cloves. Add the red wine vinegar and cook until reduced by one third in volume. The mixture will be bubbly. Stir in the tamarind juice and reduce again by one-third; the mixture will thicken slightly. Remove from heat and add the ginger jelly and creme fraiche. Return to the heat and reduce again by one-third. Puree in a blender or food processor and strain; season to taste with salt and pepper. The consistency should be similar to pancake batter; return to medium-low heat and reduce again if necessary to obtain this consistency. Set aside; keep warm.
To prepare the shrimp: Remove the shells and tails; slit the backs and remove the back strips. Heat three tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saute pan or skillet over high heat and add the shrimp. Saute on all sides just until opaque; the shrimp will curl up as they cook. Add more olive oil if necessary to keep the shrimp from sticking to the pan. Remove from heat and season with a few grindings of sea salt. Set aside.
To serve: Make sure all elements are hot. Stir the balsamic vinegar into the sauce. Spread a circle of sweet mashed potatoes in the center of each plate. Press eight shrimp into each circle of mashed potatoes. Spoon sauce around the shrimp. Sprinkle the shrimp with bits of pickled ginger. Garnish each dish with five long chives, anchoring one end of each chive in the potatoes.