Monday, April 11, 2011

Szechuan Pepper Calamari and Springroll-Wrapped Head-on Shrimp

We've been playing around with some Asian-style appetizers lately and two in particular were kinda fun to make.
Szechuan Pepper Calamari

We've been watching Season 5 of The F-Word and one recipe that stood out was a Szechuan Pepper Calamari - the detail on this that drew me in was the technique for scoring the calamari that created strange crispy strips instead of rings. The aromatic, almost floral aspect of the Szechuan peppers also brought some zip and interest to the dish. The cucumber salad accompanying it was pretty pedestrian but necessary to balance out the heat from the calamari.

Springroll-Wrapped Head-on Shrimp

We sort-of-borrowed stole this recipe from a dish we'd tried at The Corner. We took the idea of using unusually large head-on shrimp but replaced the shredded phyllo of the 'shrimp-in-a-blanket' with strips of spring roll wrapper, then deep-fried the shrimp until crispy and golden. We served the shrimp with a red-pepper & tomato chutney and dusted it with some smoked paprika.  The spring roll strips held up beautifully and kept a tight seal on the shrimp. All of the great flavors trapped in the body oozed out as you twisted the heads off and created a rich sauce inside of the crispy pastry.

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