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1999 All Rights Reserved by Norman Van Aken

Wine suggestion
Something light-bodied, crisp and white, like a Vernaccia from Italy: Teruzzi & Puthod Vernaccia di San Gimigniano, 1998

Yield: 4 servings
  • 1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cups "Criolla Tomato Mama"
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Criolla Mama

Yield: About 2 cups

  • 1 ounce smoked bacon, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon pure olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 scotch bonnet chile, stem and seeds discarded, minced
  • 2 cloves raw garlic, minced
  • 1/3 red onion, peeled and diced medium
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 large stalk celery, cleaned and diced medium
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper, stem and seeds discarded, diced medium
  • 1/2 small yellow bell pepper, stem and seeds discarded, diced medium
  • 1 Tablespoon Spanish sherry wine vinegar
  • 1 cup clam juice
  • 1 bay leaves, broken
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2/3 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/3 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2/3 teaspoon Tabasco
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups tomatoes concasse

Heat the smoked bacon and the olive oil in a large heavy saucepan on medium heat until the bacon is almost cooked. Now add the scotch bonnet, garlic and red onion. Turn up the heat to high and cook for about 5-10 minutes and the onions are lightly caramelized. Now add the butter and the sugar, celery and bell peppers. Cook until the bell peppers just begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the vinegar and allow the liquid to reduce.

Now add the bay leaves, cayenne, black pepper, salt, Tabasco, thyme, basil and 1 cup of the stock. Reduce the heat to medium and stir as needed. Cook about 8-10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and remaining stock and cook for about 30 minutes. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Allow to cool and then store refrigerated until needed.

Torta

  • 2 Tablespoons whole butter
  • 3 cloves raw garlic, minced
  • 1 cup sweet corn
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 ounces soft goat cheese (chèvre)
  • 1/2 recipe of the Corn Kernel Cakes (see recipe)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Begin the dish by making the chevre mixture. Bring a skillet to high heat and add the butter. When it begins to foam add the garlic and stir. Now add the corn and stir. Season the corn with a little salt and pepper. Allow the corn to get somewhat blistered, about 2 minutes, then add the cream and heat through. Now remove it to a bowl and add the chevre. Mix well and set aside.

Now make the Corn Kernel Cakes. When they are cooked arrange them on a work surface and spread eight of them with an equal amount each of the corn and chevre cream cheese mixture. Now make four stacks with the top cake not having the mix on it. Place the 4 stacks on an oven-proof platter an keep warm while you cook the shrimp.

Heat a large skillet until very hot over medium-high heat. Now add the oil and then the shallots. Stir. Now add the shrimp and stir rapidly. Season to taste. When the shrimp is just about cooked, about 2-3 minutes, add the prepared Criolla Mama and stir. Allow to heat through entirely. Remove from heat.

To serve, place one stack per person in the center of each plate and then prop three shrimp around it. Spoon the sauce over the shrimp and around the torta.

Compass: For a smaller portion you can simply cut the torta recipe in half and make two stacks instead of four. Then when you go to plate the dish, cut the two stacks in half and then in half again (cutting through the top). Arrange the two quarters of torta in the center of the plate and place the shrimp around that.

~ You can serve this dish with rice instead of the torta and if you add a few more shrimp and it makes a nice dinner too.

 


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