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Throw in your ideas for my pasta dish idea

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

For quite a while I've thought of doing a shrimp and pasta dish that played heavily on classic ingredients for shrimp like citrus. I think I've got an idea narrowed down, that would be a kind of southwest USA - Italian fusion. Basically it will be garlic, lime, corriander marinated grilled shrimp over fresh spaghetti tossed in a cilantro pesto with fresh squeezed lime juice.

 

I was thinking that the cilantro pesto will bring that fresh herbal flavor that so many southwest dishes have with the inclusion of cilantro, but also putting it into a form that marries well with pasta as a pesto. The lime will give it an acidic brightness. The coriander (seed) should give it a deeper citrus layer.

 

Any thoughts on this, any suggestions for additions or modifications based on your experience or preference?

post #2 of 17

hi eastshores,

personally i don't think you can ever go wrong with chipotles in adobo(pureed), if you want to add some smokey spice....also a good splash of good tequila almost at the end can be just that little something you are looking for.. rounding it out but keeping an edge...just for s's & grins maybe lime zest in place of the juice...sounds wonderful as all your 'stuff' does....definately a very playful dish...my kinda food!

joey

another thought popped to mind...as you know there is such a fine balance with citrus...i'd be impulsed to throw in some butter at the end...ain't nothin' that a little butter can't help...

p.s.

 and a little anejo reposado or centenario for sipping is always, always perfect...salud migo!...policia?...hola!

p.s.s

oh, what kind of past are you thinking?...i would do something light and again playful to match your food...bowtie, gemelli.. a mix...something like that..not too heavy and  something that your guests don't have to work on, twirl or can't have a conversation while eating it...we women appreciate things like that, trust me!   while i can twirl with the best of them, lots can't...plus i think your dish begs for a forkable pasta, considering you got the shrimp in there too...too much work for twirling and talking....


Edited by durangojo - 10/13/11 at 7:18pm

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks Joey. I am definitely going to go with the zest now.. using the whole lime.. I like it. Both tequila and butter sound good. I don't drink Tequila (I heard it makes you not afraid of the police) .. but a pad of butter sounds good to me!

post #4 of 17

I have done a tequila lime chicken or shrimp pasta  many times, always sells well.

Julienne red, orange and yellow peppers, red onion, garlic, chili flakes, good couple rounds of GOOD tequila, cream, butter, cilantro & lime at the end.

 

I think your pest would work well in this. When you say grilled shrimp, I assume that your cooking over fire on a bbq?

 

Give the shrimp a quick marinade in the chipotle adobo, cilantro, lime, olive oil, garlic, s&p, then grill over high heat, lump charcoal would be best. Cook them hot and quick, then present over your pasta.

 

I agree with Joey, ditch the spaghetti, go with the bow ties or something similar that will pick up the sauce.

If you don't drink, go the the liquor store and get the single serving bottles, then you wont have to spring for a whole bottle to use a couple of ounces. My store carries a good selection of tequilas in the small bottles.

post #5 of 17

It's an interesting idea, but cilantro pesto can easily be overpowering.  You'll need to use enough pesto to at least lubricate the pasta, so there's no way to get away from the fact that there's going to be a lot.

 

The pesto might be too strong in general, and I'm pretty sure something as delicate as shrimp can't stand up to it.  You're going to need to cut the cilantro taste -- not just with oil but herbs too.  Try mixing in a lot of parsley, some fresh mint, shallot, maybe some hibiscus powder and a squeeze of lime or lemon juice to brighten it.  Mint/cilantro is an excellent flavor profile.  You see it in Indian, Mexican and some other cuisines too.

 

BDL

 

 

post #6 of 17

A light red roasted red pepper puree combined with a light basil garlic pecan pesto might be tasty. I agree with BDL ciantro to strong maybe try a hint of tarragon or dill.  Shrimp is delicate so whatever on it should not be overpowering as to mask flavor of the shrimp.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #7 of 17

Eastshores, look out for using citrus in the marinade. The acid will start cooking your shrimp in the marinade!

 

I posted only a few days ago somewhere that I had good experience with marinating shrimp overnight in a few tbsp of sunflower oil, black pepper, NO salt (it extracts the moist out of the shrimp), crushed sezchuanpepper (lemonpepper), slices of fresh garlic and the zeste of a lemon (tastes much nicer than lime zeste!!). You could add a very small pinch of chili flakes or better yet, a finely chopped deseeded fresh chili. And of course crushed koriander seeds etc. Put everything (marinade and shrimp) in a plastic bag, close, give it a massage and put in the fridge overnight or shorter if you want.

 

Next day simply panfry the shrimp over medium high heat in a non-stick pan shortly; leave all ingredients from the marinade that now stick to the shrimp on, certainly the garlic, you could add some extra fresh chopped garlic to the frying shrimp if necessary!! Very important; sprinkle a little lemonjuice over them at the last moment, also, salt now and get them out of the pan and keep warm. Pour a good dash of white wine in the pan and let reduce until almost gone. Pour in a dash of chickenstock and let reduce. Add a good tbsp worth of cold butter in small chunks. Add a small hand of not too finely chopped fresh cilantro (we call that koriander too). Fold in your cooked pasta. Serve with the shrimp on top and a few sprigs of cilantro and an extra grind of black pepper. You could serve some pecorino or parmezan in an additional small cup for those who like it.

 

You will now have a nice color contrast of green-ish looking pasta with the red shrimp on top.

 

I would totally forget about using any pesto. It will all look very messy. On the other hand, pasta with only pesto and nothing else is delicious.

Which pasta? Whatever you like, but I would go for tagliatelle.

 

p.s. what you call koriander is the seed from the cilantro plant. Please do remember; a lot of people simply hate cilantro! It's a love or hate ingredient to be used best very sparingly, that's why I suggest to only use a small hand in the whole dish. You could combine cilantro with Italian parcely to tone down the cilantro taste. You could also use rucola instead.

post #8 of 17

What fun!  I love helping to paint a dish!

 

I agree with BDL and Chris who say to tone down the cilantro pesto with another herb.  If you want to focus the cilantro flavor you might just want to use parsley to do so, which will mellow the cilantro but will let it shine through.

 

Your dish has a lot of bright flavors like citrus and fresh herbs.  You may want to add an earthy flavor.  Perhaps some toasted walnuts directly into the pesto will help balance those bright tones.

 

Your dish is also screaming for some heat.mullet.gif

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

It's interesting that several of you think cilantro pesto would be overpowering. I find it to be exactly the same intensity as basil with a slightly different flavor. I think 9 out of 10 people would not be able to tell me that the herb in the pesto was cilantro, but I'm open to combining some other herbs into it.

 

Lots of good ideas, everyone has their own preferences for how to handle a dish like this. I think a tendency to add cream or butter is getting away from the light qualities that I enjoy with just the olive oil based pesto. Still there's only one way to really refine a dish like this.. I'm just going to have to make all of them!! biggrin.gif

post #10 of 17

well, 

here we go again...i humbly disagree that the cilantro pesto would be too strong in this dish. as we all know, it's about ratios, balance. if the shrimp in the dish are jumbo, they can certainly handle the pesto..large shrimp need a subtle punch...that's all i believe eastshores is talking about here...not globs...i trust him...

i, like chefbubba have made many successful s.w. pasta dishes..in fact until i got so bored making it, we had a 'tequila sunrise' shrimp pasta dish on the menu for years. light and airy but with deep layers.(glad to pass it along e.s. if you like, not for you to follow, but for you to compare).  i do agree that your dish needs a little wetness...tequila, cream, butter, stock...any or all...again, ratios.. i'm a heat freak hence the chipotle suggestion...plus it will give your dish a great s.w. desert color...

toasted blue corn tortilla strips on top, scallions and sprig of cilantro for garnish....

just curious about the shrimp.....do you take the tails off or leave them on?

joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 

So far.. I've decided to change the pasta to bowtie farfalle (going to be a first for me hand-making these!) .. I'm going to add a heat element... the adobo marinade for the shrimp seems like a good way to do that and I think it will marry well with the lime and garlic. I plan to grill the shrimp on either lump coal or gas (each have their benefits but probably the lump coal for this one).

 

Regarding the moisture. I'm worried about it "watering down" the pesto, but I agree having a wet sauce is a plus for pasta. How about doing something like a tequila and stock reduction .. hitting it with a pad of butter for a pan sauce that is poured into the bottom of a vessel.. then the pasta tossed in pesto to sit atop that so it can be mixed however a person likes?

 

I'm still imagining the plating, but i think I will leave the tails on.. I think they look best that way and provide a handle if you want to pick them up.

post #12 of 17

I love this thread! So many good ideas. Of course, Eastshores, you now have a moral obligation to make the dish, and... especially for you; ...pictures, or it didn't happen! lol

 

Maybe a few extra thoughts;

- farfalle and friends restrict your plating. They will find their own way on your plate. Long pasta can be rolled on a meatfork in a "nest" or in a longer tubular shape and allows you to put the shrimp and a dollop of pesto any place you want on the plate.

 

- you could make a tasty bisque first from the heads & C° of the shrimp and use that in the dish. Fry heads in olive oil until nicely red, a drop of pastis could be replaced with a drop of tequila if you wish, sprinkle of cayenne pepper or any other kick, smallest bit of tomato paste, pinch of fennelseeds, let fry for a while then crush everything with a large wooden pin, add some water or chickenstock and let simmer for 20 minutes. Sieve, et voilà, ready to use some of this divine liquid in the dish, thickened with a bit of cold butter or cream and parfumed with some fresh cilantro...

 

- how are you going to make the pesto? A hint; there's a Maroccan pesto-ish thing they use as a marinade ànd as an extra sauce on fish plates. It's called "chermoula". Contains cilantro and it's spicey.

post #13 of 17

good morning eastshores,

 yes, lots of ideas and input for you here...personally i would make your dish the way you visualize it to cut down on all the confusion and head noise....then you can change it according to what you liked or didn't like about it. i would however make a reduced stock with those great shrimp shells, add some tequila and butter and reduce further, just so that you have something on hand in case you find that you need to get some wet in there at the end.....farfalle in a soup-plate...you know the kind with a wide rim and shallow bowl makes food look great, keeps it contained and is elegant yet fun.....trust your instincts...you got good ones....and yes as CB says, pictures are always great to see......have fun!

joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #14 of 17

For the record, I did not say cilantro pesto would be too strong, I said a pesto made with cilantro as the only herb would be very strong, and would overpower the shrimp.  Worth adding now that cilantro stems are especially strong flavored.  I recommended adding some parsley and a little bit of mint to tone down the cilantro and add some complexity.  Watercress instead of parsley would also work well. 

 

FWIW, cilantro, parsley, onion, mint and powdered hibiscus (or mango, aka amchur) -- without oil, nuts or cheese -- is classic Indian "mint chutney."  It's a great and very adaptable flavor profile.  Using the same herbs in slightly different proportions with the addition of a pesto's garlic, nuts and oil would work very well.  I'd keep the cheese away from shrimp, and might go shallots over garlic, but that's me.

 

I'm not sure about the other 9 people -- who should probably quit smoking -- but I can taste the difference between basil and cilantro pestos.  If the flavors were masked by things like too much garlic and cheese that might interfere, but I doubt it.  Cilantro is very distinctive. 

 

You're using the term "pan sauce" in a non-standard way; it doesn't simply mean "cooked in a pan." The foundation of a pan sauce is a fond deglaze.  Your butter mounted tequila/stock reduction is more of a jus. 

 

If I understand your saucing idea correctly, I think you have it backwards.  Prepare the reduction in a large skillet, without butter.  Add the barely cooked pasta to it along with a little pasta water to tighten the sauce, and toss over a very hot flame until the pasta absorbs some flavor and the sauce structures.  Plate the pasta with just barely enough of sauce -- pasta should not be drowning.  Plate the separately cooked shrimp on top of the pasta.  Garnish with a few drops of pesto here and there if you like.  Pass the remaining pesto for the guests to either fortify the sauce or use as a dip. 

 

It really sounds like you don't want advice as much as validation.  Because I wouldn't present a straight cilantro pesto or use butter in the reduction, doesn't mean you shouldn't.  Go for it. 

 

BDL

post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 

BDL I asked for thoughts, and you've provided a bunch. I don't happen to agree entirely with you on your take on cilantro pesto with the shrimp. It doesn't mean I don't appreciate the thoughts, after all I asked for them. The implication that I just wanted validation is interesting.

post #16 of 17

Another debate on cilantro!  Well eastshores, you'll have to let us know how it turns out.  If you like cilantro then go for it in a big way!  If you're serving it to other people maybe think about toning it down a bit.  When I see cilantro as an ingredient I run the other way, I can hardly stand it in the smallest doses.  It prevents me from eating lots of latin or indian dishes but I can't help it.  But it's a matter of personal taste and if you like it there's no reason to tone it down.  It was just a suggestion.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #17 of 17

I have a last minute suggestion. How about using a cream of cilantro? I made this cilantro/almonds/chili cream that can be added to the cooked pasta.

The cilantro tastes much more tempered and it could even please many cilantro haters. Also, very decorative on a plate... look at the color!

 

Put in your blender: small bundle of fresh cilantro roughly cut, including the stalks, a handful of almonds (I used whole ones, including the brown skin!), a good pinch of chili flakes, one clove of garlic, a little limejuice, s&p, a dash of olive oil. Now add as much cold water to allow the blender to work well (I used about 1/3th of a cup). All of the ingredients have to blend very finely. Now add the same amount of cream as the water you added and pulse for just a few seconds. You now have this fantastic quite thin cream of which you can add a little to your cooked pasta.

 

I used it to tweak this mix of left-overs; both cold but previously boiled potato and cauliflower. First I sweat a chopped onion on low fire, added the potatoes and cauliflower in chunks to reheat them very slowly, then mashed everything while adding 2 tbsp of the cream. Sensational!

 

(Click on the images to enlarge)

korianderAmandelChiliRoom.jpgkorianderAmandelChiliRoom2.jpg

 

 

 

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