Recipe: Crostini with Gulf shrimp, jalapeño, and lime
1/2 lemon, cut into thin slices
1 bay leaf
1 3/4 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1 1/3 pounds medium (31–35 count) uncooked shrimp in the shell
3 tablespoons minced green onions, including green tops
2 teaspoons minced jalapeño chile, seeds and ribs removed (see Cook’s Note)
2 teaspoons freshly grated lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup (3 ounces) whipped cream cheese
Crostini (recipe follows)
In a medium saucepan, combine the lemon slices, bay leaf, peppercorns, and salt. Add 5 cups of cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the shrimp. Cook just until the shrimp are pink and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water. Peel and devein the shrimp. Discard the lemon slices and spices. Cut 12 of the shrimp in half lengthwise and set aside for garnish. Finely chop the remaining shrimp and transfer to a medium bowl.
Add the green onions, jalapeño, lime zest and juice, and cream cheese to the bowl with the shrimp. Stir until the ingredients are well combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
To assemble and serve, mound a spoonful of the shrimp mixture on each crostini. Garnish each crostini with a reserved shrimp half. Arrange on a serving platter and serve immediately, or cover lightly with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for up to 30 minutes.
Makes 24 crostini
Keep some disposable surgical gloves on hand (available at any pharmacy) to wear while working with fresh chiles. They will keep the capsaicin, the caustic compound that is naturally present in chiles, from irritating your skin.
The shrimp mixture along with the shrimp reserved for the garnish can be prepared up to 1 day in advance. Cover tightly and refrigerate.
Crostini means "little toasts" in Italian. They are small, thin slices of toasted bread, usually brushed with olive oil and baked. If you want plain toasts to serve with the shrimp or crab dip, simply omit the oil.
1 baguette, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter
Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
Position one rack in the center and a second rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Cut the baguette into slices 1/3 inch thick and arrange in a single layer on 2 baking sheets. Brush lightly on both sides with olive oil. Bake until lightly browned on top, about 7 minutes. Turn the slices and switch the position of the baking sheets. Bake until the crostini are lightly browned on the second side, about 5 minutes longer. They should be crunchy but not brittle. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 24 toasts
The crostini can be made up to 3 days in advance. Store in a lock-top plastic bag or an airtight container at room temperature.
Excerpted from New Thanksgiving Table: An American Celebration of Family, Friends, and Food by Diane Morgan. Copyright 2009 by Chronicle Books. Excerpted with permission by Chronicle Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.