I think my favorite holiday may be the 4th of July. It gives me a chance to not only run around grilling to my hearts content without people thinking I am a mad man playing with fire and knives, but it gives me a chance to delve into what is considered to be true-blue (or true red/white and blue) American cooking. It's fun and that really is what cooking should be all about.
In this series called An All-American 4th of July, we will have some fun with some true American cooking. It will be tasty! It will be easy and it will give you a chance to celebrate the birth of the greatest nation on the face of this earth while filling your stomach with delicious morsels of Americana!
Okay, if you have never been to the great southern regions of America, you may not know what a po' boy is. In a nutshell, it is one of the greatest sandwiches in the culinary world and the shrimp variety must simply be eaten to be believed (and if you're like me, you'll get more "on" you than "in" you).
I created this salad as my homage to both the South and to one of the greatest foods to come from there. When we first put this on our menu, people were a little hesitant since very few people in San Francisco knew what the hell a "po' boy" was. Once they tried it and the word got out and it soon became one of our most popular Summer salads.
This salad is served over a bed of shaved cucumber, which is a very simple process that only takes a steady hand and a vegetable peeler (though at the restaurant we use a French mandolin).
Now you might notice something strange in the directions. I have you combine milk and raspberry vinegar! This is not an error. Yes, the vinegar will curdle the milk and that is exactly what you want to happen. This is a little trick we learned at Escoffier and is sort of a faux buttermilk (in the South they use buttermilk) but with a more fruity taste. As far as a dressing for the salad, I use a simple raspberry vinaigrette but you can use whatever your taste-buds are craving.
So enjoy something purely American! Enjoy the marvel which is Southern Shrimp Po' Boy Salad!
Ingredients needed to make Southern Shrimp Po' Boy Salad (serves 2):
- 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
- 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 cup milk
- 1 Tbs. raspberry vinegar
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 cucumber, peeled and shaved
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- Rinse the shrimp under cold running water. Pat the shrimp dry and set aside.
- In a medium bowl combine the cumin, garlic powder, garlic salt and black pepper. Add the shrimp and toss to coat.
- In a medium bowl whisk the milk and raspberry vinegar (it will curdle and this is what you want).
- In a shallow dish or bowl, whisk the flour and cornmeal.
- Dip the seasoned shrimp into the milk mixture and then dredge (coat) in the flour mixture. Once all the shrimp are done, let them rest 5 minutes.
- Take your cucumber and shave it.
- In a medium saute pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shrimp and saute about 3 minutes per side (or to desired doneness).
- Prepare your shaved cucumber on serving plates.
- Remove the shrimp from the pan, place atop the shaved cucumber, drizzle with a vinaigrette and serve.
The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards is now available from Amazon.com and bookstores worldwide. One of the most anticipated cookbooks of the year, "Edwardian Cooking: Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals."