Today, it’s okay to be a shrimp or a chicken…
As promised! Here is the recipe. There a few ways you can tweak this as well so I will mention some options as I go.
For Shrimp Crustini
You will need
1 loaf French, Italian, ciabatta, or baguette bread
1/4 cup olive oil
half stick real butter (salted or unsalted, your choice)
4 cloves fresh garlic
1 12-to-16 oz container whipped cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley (finely chopped and pressed with paper towel to dry)
2 stalks green onion or half package chives (finely chopped)
1/2 red bell pepper, diced to 1 cm or very finely chopped
1/4 jicama, diced to 1 cm or very finely chopped
Shrimp (25 to 70 count, your choice — peeled, cleaned and tails removed)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Thinly slice bread into approx 1/4 inch slices and arrange on non-stick cookie sheet
For garlic butter
In small skillet on med-low heat, add olive oil and garlic. Allow to caramelize (this is a slow process), about 3 minutes. If heat is too high then garlic will burn and will not release it’s flavor. Remove from heat and add butter to allow to melt. Reserve about two tbsp garlic butter for shrimp. Then, brush bread generously and place in oven for approx 15 minutes until well toasted. It’s very important that bread is crispy. If center is very soft allow a few more minutes in oven. Remove and allow to cool five minutes. (This can even be prepared earlier in the day.)
While bread is in the oven…
In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, half parsley and all green onion. Mix well. Adjust flavor with salt and pepper.
Also, in med sauce pan, fill 3/4 with water and bring just to boil. Add shrimp and cook for approx 2 minutes, be sure not to overcook. Remove and place in bowl of ice water to stop cooking process for about 5 minutes, strain, then place in bowl and toss with garlic oil mixture.
Spread cream cheese mixture on toast. Then sprinkle equal amounts of red pepper and jicama. Place a minimum of three shrimp per toast, then sprinkle with remainder parsley. Approx serving is 1-2 per person. Enjoy!
For spicy version: add chipotle, diced roasted green chilies, or crushed red pepper to cream cheese mixture, tossed shrimp in cayenne pepper and replace parsley with chopped cilantro. May also add finely chopped cucumber.
For Chicken Wellington…
Classically, protein in topped with Foie Gras, (duck liver). I prefer a mushroom duxell. Much easier for any average cook to find and prepare.
You will need
2 large chicken breast, split into 4 equal serving sizes
1 tbsp flour
3 gloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
1/4 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
Garlic oil (used recipe above)
1 package filo (lighter) or puff pastry dough traditional version)
1 package baby portabella mushrooms, cleaned and finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup white cooking wine, can also be Chardonnay, or Marsala
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 bar cream cheese
2 tbsp real butter
salt and pepper to taste
Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, then sprinkle flour over to lightly coat.
In a large skillet heat medium-high and add olive oil. Once hot add chicken (should sizzle the moment it touches pan) make sure there is at least 1 inch of space between each piece. Turn over after one minute and cook for 1 more. Remove and set aside. (Chicken will be raw so be mindful of raw poultry.)
In same skillet, do not clean. Add garlic, allow to cook until flavor opens (approx 1 minute) then add mushrooms. If pan is too dry, add a little olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Sautee for approximately 2 minutes, add cream cheese. Mix well and turn off heat.
For Filo dough..
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Unroll dough and cut in half (should be rectangular in shape). Separate into four equal parts with multiple layers. Brush in between each layer with garlic oil. Place each section of layer dough on cookie sheet. Add chicken breast. Add approx 2 tbsp mushroom mixture (note, you will have a good amount left over, set pan aside for sauce) on top of each breast then roll and wrap dough around each peice. Brush top with garlic oil and place in oven and bake uncovered for approx 20 minutes until dough is golden brown and flakey.
For puff pastry, simply cut dough into 4 equal parts. Follows filling steps then fold dough over and pinch seems. Same baking process.
While chicken is in oven…
Reheat pan with mushroom mixture. Add wine and cook until liquid in reduce by half. Then add chicken stock and heavy cream. Let simmer until sauce has a gravy-like consistency. Finish by adding butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Salt and pepper to taste.
Remove chicken from oven and allow to rest 5 to 7 minutes.
Add half parsley to sauce and mix. Place a few spoonfuls of sauce on plate then place chicken on top. Finish by spooning a little of the sauce just on top (never smother, you will loose crunch factor) and garnish with remaining parsley. Can be served with a salad or any vegetable, mashed or roasted potatoes, depending on how light or heavy you like your meal…Bon appetite!