Growing up, I religiously watched the Food Network. I loved watching chefs whip up new dishes and teach me different recipes. Nowadays, it’s the complete opposite because I almost never watch cooking shows. If I want to watch a show about food, it has to be extremely entertaining. My latest indulgence has been the Netflix show, “The Chef” with Roy Favreau and Roy Choi. It’s great to see two genuine people get together to eat, cook and just be themselves. In one episode, the members visit The Optimist in Atlanta, where Chef Ford Fry prepares a shrimp appetizer dish. My mouth was salivating as I watched him fire up shrimp with chile jam. In an attempt to recreate the dish, here is my interpretation with coconut lime chile shrimp served on sourdough. It may not be the same appetizer but let me tell you, it is delicious.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
There are several key elements of this coconut lime chile shrimp that make it a star. The first is the Anaheim chile sauce. To make the sauce, lightly toast the dried Anaheim chile and rehydrate the chilies in hot water for at least 30 minutes. Flip the chilies over a couple of times during the 30 minutes to make sure both sides are being rehydrated. Once soft, drain the chilies, reserving 1/2 cup of the water. Take off the stem and remove the seeds and blend up those chilies with the reserved water and canned chipotle with the adobo sauce. If you are feeling extra spicy, add more chipotle.
Finish the sauce by simmering it with sauteed garlic, onion, sugar, and red wine vinegar. Give it a taste and season it with salt and pepper.
The second key element that makes the coconut lime chile shrimp so great is the shrimp! Make sure to purchase head-on, skin on jumbo shrimp. Don’t get freaked out by the shrimp head – that’s where a lot of the flavor is!
In the show, Chef Ford cooks the shrimp in a pizza oven. I’m not fancy enough to have a pizza oven, so I’m going to use the stove-top instead. Saute the shrimp on a hot cast-iron pan, seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper. When the shrimp are no longer pink, gently press down on the shrimp heads to release the juices. Add sliced garlic, lime juice, the prepared chile sauce, and coconut milk. Bring everything to a simmer and finish the shrimp with fresh lemon juice, fresh parsley, and fresh cilantro.
While the shrimp are cooking, toast some crusty bread. I love sourdough but you can use any crusty bread; just make sure to cut the slices thick so that it doesn’t get soggy.
Pour the coconut lime chile shrimp over the bread along with all of the beautiful juices and dig in. This is a get-your-hands-dirty type of dish but, on the plus side, you get to suck all that sauce off your fingers at the end, so it’s a win-win. Just as Roy Choi pointed out, this dish is more about the bread soaked up in all that saucy goodness more than the shrimp. I completely agree, but that doesn’t mean the shrimp isn’t darn good too! A beautiful dish all around.
Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.