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Chefs’ Corner: Rudolfo Martinez’s Shrimp Ceviche and Chicharrones


Tapa Tapa's Shrimp Ceviche and Chicharrones

Rudolfo Martinez, who owns the Tapa Tapa truck that can be found at Boardwalk on Bulverde, is a Culinary Institute of America graduate serving up extremely flavorful dishes that combine comfort foods in unique, playful ways. On a recent evening, he mixed watermelon and mint with old-fashioned Pop Rocks candy for a salad that gave your mouth a little extra burst of flavor.

For his shrimp ceviche, he takes fresh tomatoes flavored by serranos and mixes them with pickled onions and shrimp. He serves the mixture over pork rinds for a lively variation on this seafood specialty.

More of Martinez’s food will soon be featured at Counter Culture, which is opening in a few weeks next to the Spectrum Club at 20144 U.S. 281 N. at Evans Road.

Shrimp Ceviche and Chicharrones

1 medium white onion, sliced thin
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (reserve lime peels for broth)
1 cup medium diced tomatoes
2 serranos, cut into thin coins
1 bunch cilantro leaves, torn
1 pound 16/20-count shrimp, shell on
Salt, to taste
1 bag pork rinds or chicharrones (see note)

Rudolfo Martinez

Mix the onions in lime juice and marinate at least 6 hours (overnight is best).

Mix the tomatoes with the serranos and cilantro and perfume at least 6 hours (overnight is best).

Boil shrimp in a broth of juiced limes and water for 90 seconds.

Remove and shock in a ice water bath to stop cooking. Remove from water bath, shell and reserve meat.

When ready to serve, mix all the ingredients together, salt to taste, and serve over chicharrones. Serve immediately.

Note: You can serve this ceviche with tostadas or corn chips. Serve it on avocado halves or on nothing but a plate.

Makes 4-5 appetizer servings or 2-3 main course servings.

From Rudolfo Martinez

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Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Jalapeño-Lime Marinated Shrimp


Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a spicy shrimp dish.

For many, firm, sweet shrimp is a cause for celebration. Then what better way to honor Cinco de Mayo than with an easy shrimp dish, such as Matt Martinez’s Jalapeño-Lime Marinated Shrimp. Serve this colorful dish as an appetizer or as a salad on lettuce leaves.

Jalapeño-Lime Marinated Shrimp

1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 cup chopped or julienned red bell pepper
1 cup coarsely chopped white onion
1/2 cup lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar, or less, to taste
1/4 teaspoon crushed leafy oregano (Mexican oregano works best)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Grill or broil the shrimp and let them cool.

In a bowl, mix the bell pepper, onion, lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, garlic, jalapeño, salt, sugar, oregano and black pepper, and taste for seasoning. Add the shrimp and toss. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

From “MexTex” by Matt Martinez

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Julie Tronchet Masson’s Okra Gumbo


Put on a steaming pot of gumbo for Mardi Gras.

“Julie Tronchet Masson was the ancestor of my friend Lou Costa, who has the distinction of being a descendant of one of New Orleans’ oldest families,” Jessica B. Harris writes in “Beyond Gumbo: Creole Fusion Food from the Atlantic Rim” (Simon & Schuster, $27). “This version of gumbo is one of the treasured family recipes that Lou and his family whip up when they entertain in their glorious antique-filled house that used to be a Freedman’s Bureau. I’ve spent many an evening there, sitting on a stool in the kitchen chopping and helping out.”

Get your family to pitch in and do likewise to create this Creole favorite.

Julie Tronchet Masson’s Okra Gumbo

1 1/2 pounds okra
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 pound ham, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 1/2 pounds medium to large shrimp
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
White rice, for serving

Slice the okra and place in a heavy Dutch oven with the oil. Fry for 20 minutes or until all stickiness is gone. Add the onion, garlic and ham, and cook for 5 minutes, or until the onions are wilted but not browned. Add the shrimp and crabmeat and 2 cups of water. Cook for 15 minutes and add salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 10 minutes. Serve hot over white rice.

Makes 6 servings.

From “Beyond Gumbo: Creole Fusion Food from the Atlantic Rim” by Jessica B. Harris

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Chico’s World Famous Barbecue Shrimp


A worker passes out Chico's World's Famous Barbecue Shrimp.

These shrimp are guaranteed to please. OleTVShow.com served these to great acclaim at the World’s Championship Shrimp Cook-Off in Port Isabel this fall.

The dipping sauce will be a hit in its own right. Serve the sauce with pork tenderloin, grilled chicken breast, fresh fish, even beef. The flavor combination will surprise you, as it did many who gobbled up the treats in Port Isabel.

Chico’s World Famous Barbecue Shrimp

1 pound jumbo shrimp (18-20 count)
4 large nopal pads, cut in strips
1 can sliced pineapple
1 pound thinly sliced bacon, strips cut in half

Dipping sauce:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 large avocado
1 1/2 chopped fresh jalapeño
1 1/2 chopped fresh serrano
1/2 cup milk

This recipe uses shrimp with bacon, pineapple and nopal.

Peal and butterfly shrimp. Place inside shrimp 1 thin slice nopal, 1/3 slice of canned pineapple ring. Wrap entire shrimp with 1/2 bacon strip. Secure each with wooden skewer. Grill over hot coals for 5 to 8 minutes each side, until bacon crisps.

For dipping sauce: Combine cream cheese, avocado, jalapeño and serrano in a blender or food processor, slowly adding milk. Blend until smooth.

Makes about 20 appetizer servings.

From OleTVShow.com

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Chefs’ Corner: Chilled California Avocado Soup from Biga on the Banks


Chilled California Avocado Soup with Orange-Shrimp Pico de Gallo

The lure of smooth avocado purée mixed with the lively crunch of shrimp and pico de gallo is the foundation of this recipe, which comes from Martin Stembera, chef de cuisine at Biga on the Banks, 203 S. St. Mary’s St. But the secret doesn’t stop there. Flavors of orange, lime and honey as well as garlic and shallots all combine to make a rich treat that is cool and refreshing on a hot Texas day.

Chilled California Avocado Soup with Orange-Shrimp Pico de Gallo

2 teaspoons canola oil
4 medium shallots, sliced
5 garlic cloves, crushed
¼ cup plus 2 ounces fresh orange juice, divided use
16 ounces chicken stock (2 cups)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
2 to 3 ripe California avocados
Salt, to taste
Orange-Shrimp Pico de Gallo, for garnish (recipe follows)

Orange Shrimp Pico de Gallo:
4-6 shrimp
1 teaspoon canola oil
Pinch of chopped garlic
Pinch of shallot
Orange juice
Diced onion, to taste
Diced serrano or jalapeño, to taste
Diced and seeded tomato, to taste
Chopped cilantro, to taste (optional)
Orange oil (optional)

For the soup: In soup pot, turn heat on medium low to warm up oil. Then, add shallots with garlic and let them cook slowly until they have released some liquid and are transparent. Add 1/4 cup orange juice and reduce by half. Then add chicken stock and bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Chill this mixture and then blend it until smooth.

Add lime juice, honey and 2 avocados and blend until smooth. If soup is too runny add remaining avocado; if it’s too thick add additional orange juice. Season with salt to taste.

Serve chilled with Orange-Shrimp Pico de Gallo.

For the pico: Cut 4-6 large cleaned shrimp into bite size pieces and sauté in a little oil with shallot and garlic until shrimp turn pink.

Remove shrimp from pan and put orange juice in the pan, reducing it until it becomes thick.

Add shrimp back to pan, toss with the orange juice reduction and chill. After shrimp mixture is chilled, add 4-6 tablespoons of your favorite pico de gallo recipe or a mixture of chopped onion, serrano, tomato and cilantro, if using. Add a few drops of pure orange oil for an extra orange punch, if desired.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

From Martin Stembera of Biga on the Banks

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Sautéed Shrimp with Margarita Sauce


The sauce for this shrimp dish incorporates lime, tequila and triple sec.

Sautéed Shrimp with Margarita Sauce

1/2 cup uncooked rice
1 tablespoon red bell pepper or zucchini or tomato, diced
2 tablespoons pure olive oil
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
5 local, wild-caught shrimp, peeled and deveined
Juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons triple sec and tequila (1:1 ratio)
1/4 cup organic black beans
1/4 cup organic coconut milk
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cook the rice according tot the package instructions, adding 1 tablespoon red bell pepper or other vegetable.

When the rice is done, tightly pack it into two 4-ounce ramekins. turn out the molded rice onto two serving plates.

Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté them for 1 minute.

Add the shrimp and sauté them for 3 minutes. Add the lime juice and cook for another minute. remove the pan from the heat and deglaze the pan with the liquors. Return the pan to the heat and add the beans, coconut milk, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook for a minute or two longer to reduce the pan sauce; then serve.

Makes 2 servings.

From “The Harvest Eating Cookbook” by Keith Snow

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Groomer Seafood: Shrimp Prices Could Double


Rick Groomer says the oil spill in the Gulf has begun to affect local sales.

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has wrecked havoc with fishing off the shores of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.

What does that spell for one local seafood business? The price of shrimp could double and hoarding seems to have begun, according to Rick Groomer of Groomer Seafood.

The business has sold fish, shrimp and other seafood for going on four generations in San Antonio. Last Friday, says Groomer, customers were crowding the walk-in seafood store, at 9801 W. McCullough Ave., to buy shrimp. Prices went up 20 percent last week alone, he said.

That’s not stopping shrimp aficionados as well as restaurants. “I’d say the last week, week-and-a-half, our sales have quadrupled. On the restaurant end, they’re really starting to hoard shrimp,” he said.  Texas shrimping season is closed until July 15.

In Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama coastal waters the shrimping and fishing have come to a stop after a drilling rig explosion on April 20. Eleven people were killed and since then about 4 million gallons of oil have leaked into the Gulf.

Shrimp at Groomer Seafood won't go away, but the price is going up.

“I speak daily with (fishermen) all over the place. Today a guy in Louisiana told me his entire future right now is in the hands of the state health department, which is conducting water quality tests. Louisiana has a $2.5 billion a year fishing business and now it’s shut down,” Groomer said.

At restaurants and one local grocery store we called, shrimp prices were holding steady — so far.

“Shrimp prices haven’t gone up, it’s selling the same as we’ve sold it for the past few years,” said a Central Market fishmonger. At Sandbar, a restaurant at the Pearl specializing in fresh seafood, chef Chris Carlson had a similar response. “Things are holding steady right now,” he said.

Oysters are also of concern, since they can’t get up and move from a contaminated bed. There has been some discussion about relocating the beds, though.

Effects of the spill can mean higher prices, but, as Groomer noted, shrimp and oysters are “a worldwide product.”  So the supply can come from other sources, such as Asia and South America.

As for affecting the Texas fishing and shrimp industry?

“We’ve been lucky in Texas — so far,” said Groomer.

Photos by Bonnie Walker

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Rice Rules at Pearl Paella Party



Waldy Malouf’s Paella is artfully arranged with seafood and vegetables on top.

It was a beautiful day for a cook-off Sunday and the Pearl Brewery, in front of the Culinary Institute of America, offered a perfect setting for the first ever Cocina de las Americas. The big event was a Paella Cook-Off.


Rene Fernandez of Azuca stirs rice into a paella that he made out of competition during Sunday’s paella cook-off.

When the flames under the huge paella pans were extinguished in the afternoon, judges chose their winners. First place went to chef and restaurateur Ben Ford, of Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City, CA. Peter Holt and crew from Lupe Tortilla Mexican Restaurant in Houston,  took second place and San Antonio chef, Jeffrey Balfour of Citrus, at the Valencia Hotel, took third.

There were as many imaginative takes on paella as there were teams — 16 in all. These included celebrity chefs Waldy Malouf of New York (Beacon and Waldy’s restaurants in New York City) and Ford. Each team drew long lines, as attendees waited patiently for tastes of the famous, saffron-laced Spanish rice dish.

SavorSA was there, too. The writers of this article admit they had a few minutes of high excitement when the chef we’d been assigned to help ran late. Michael Gilleto, chef of a private club in New Jersey, flew in Sunday and arrived in the nick of time, but not before his two nervous assistants had dashed off to the huge food pantry in the middle of the grounds to snatch up ingredients. If Gilleto didn’t make it, we figured we’d pinch hit and make our own paella.


Chef Michael Giletto plates his paella for judging.

Gilleto showed up, though, and we were off — slicing, dicing, killing lobsters, cutting up whole chickens, cleaning shrimp and dashing around looking for a few ingredients we’d missed during the first mad rush.

Gilleto liked a classic-style paella, one traditionally more about rice and olive oil than about masses of seafood, chicken, chorizo and more ingredients piled high. We were with him on that.

Along with the usual ingredients in the pantry we noticed bags of chopped pineapple, hoja santa plants (sometimes called the root beer plant), ancho chiles and more. We said “yes” to the ancho chiles, which Gilleto wanted to flavor the stock, but we all tacitly agreed “no” on the pineapple.

One crew decorated their paella with julienned carrots. Another crew had help from one of their member’s grandmother, who hailed from the northern principality of Asturias, Spain.


bout 1,000 people, including families, turned out to the first paella cook-off.

Shelley Grieshaber, culinary director at the Pearl Brewery and CIA graduate, made her way from table to table doing the “color” interviews for the day. Johnny Hernandez, chef and owner of Pearl’s upcoming La Gloria restaurant, and driving force behind the cook-off, alternated roles between host and trouble shooter.

“We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day,” said Grieshaber, who was excited at the success of the event.

San Antonio Food Bank culinary students were on hand to assist. Chef Rene Fernandez of Azuca made a huge paella prior to the contest to serve to the hungry masses. Other San Antonio chefs in the competition included Jason Dady, Dave Souter and Brian West, as well as a crew from the R.K. Group and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.


Ben Ford, right, shakes hands with a fellow chef after winning the paella cook-off.

Proceeds from ticket sales will be going toward scholarship opportunities at the CIA San Antonio to benefit local chefs.  A portion of proceeds will also go to the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Office of the Honorary Council to Spain for educational initiatives benefiting San Antonio students. H-E-B/Central Market were presenting sponsors of the community event, in partnership with the Culinary Institute of America.

It was a fun competition, and one we hope to see again next year.

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Chefs’ Corner: Shrimp With Garlic and Vegetables


This shrimp dish from chef Michael H. Flores comes together quickly and requires only one pan, so cleanup is easy. Serve it as a main course or as an appetizer.

Shrimp With Garlic and Vegetables

1/2 cup olive oil
15 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon crushed red chile flakes
1 zucchini, sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup fish stock or clam juice
1 pound raw Texas shrimp, peeled, tails off
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves, packed
2 teaspoons salt

In the olive oil, sauté the garlic and chile flakes for 5 minutes over low heat. Add the zucchini and bell pepper and continue sautéing for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 more minutes. Pour in the wine and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Add the stock or clam juice and bring to a boil. Once it has boiled, add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Squeeze in the lime juice and add the cilantro and salt.

Serve immediately with crusty French bread for dipping.

Makes 6 entrée or at least 8 hearty appetizer servings.

From Michael H. Flores.

Photo and recipe supplied by Texas Department of Agriculture (www.GoTexan.org).

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Cajun Shrimp and Artichoke Dip


This spicy dip can be made 1 day in advance.

Cajun Shrimp and Artichoke Dip

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons Cajun Seasoning (see below) or salt-free store-bought seasoning
8 ounces cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp, coarsely chopped
2 (6-ounce) jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/3 cup drained and coarsely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
3 scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cajun Seasoning
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

For dip: Mix the mayonnaise, sour cream and Cajun Seasoning in a medium bowl. Add the shrimp, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes and scallions, mixing well. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate to blend the flavors, at least 1 hour or overnight.

[amazon-product]0060002239[/amazon-product]For Cajun Seasoning: Mix paprika, basil, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper and cayenne pepper together. Makes about 1/3 cup. Use as a seasoning for dips, popcorn, salads, grilled foods and in Cajun and Creole cooking.

What to dip: potato chips, tortilla chips, baguette slices, crostini, flatbread crisps, carrot sticks, celery, sticks, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, mushroom caps and zucchini slices.

From “Dip It” by Rick Rodgers

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