Sunday, February 25, 2007

Ming Tsai: Hatosi (Shrimp Toast)


My mother decided that it was about time for her to host a happy hour at our house, especially since all of her friends have already done their turns. So I agreed to help her out as her personal "caterer" for the event. I needed to stay in the realm of very bland since my mother is convinced I am the only person on Earth that enjoys curry, squid, or anything that doesn't appear in a regular American grocery store. So I devised a menu based on Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cuisine with significant American modifications so that it wasn't too "weird." I'm still rolling my eyes over this one.

For Chinese food, I was warned not to make any strange dumpling creations (since I'm apparently also the only one on Earth that knows what dim sum is), so I decided to just do some shrimp toast and be done with it.  As you can probably tell, cooking for me is 90% debate and 10% actual work.  The recipe I pulled came from Ming Tsai and turns out the most luscious shrimp toast I think I've ever had.  These babies put take-out to shame.

Hatosi (Shrimp Toast)
From Ming Tsai

1½ pounds raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 large eggs
2 sticks butter, cut into small squares
1 tablespoon truffle oil
White pepper
Salt
1 cup water chestnuts (fresh or canned), chopped finely
½ cup green onions, chopped finely
1 loaf thinly sliced white bread (I used Mrs. Baird's), crusts removed
¼ cup sesame seeds (optional)

Process shrimp and eggs in a food processor until almost smooth. Add the butter and process until you can only see small bits in the paste. Add the truffle oil, salt, and white pepper, and process just enough to combine (a few seconds). Move to a small bowl, and fold in the green onions and water chestnuts. Store in refrigerator until ready to cook.

Place bread slices on a rack on a baking sheet. Dry the bread in a 200°F oven for approximately 15 minutes per side. Cut the bread slices into triangles or squares. Using a knife, spread shrimp paste over the top of each bread portion. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. You can fry the shrimp toast in a fryer (at 350°F) or in a frying pan with a thin layer of oil on the bottom over medium heat. Always add the shrimp toast with the shrimp paste facing down to start, no matter which method you choose. Flip after the top is finished cooking to allow the toast to crisp. Drain on a paper towel and serve immediately.

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