published Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Shrimp toasts with ‘fried’ crunch without the fat

Here’s a recipe that reconfigures a favorite Chinese dish — shrimp toasts. Not familiar with dim sum? Think of it as Chinese tapas, or small plates of food. Traditionally, shrimp toasts are made of chopped or ground shrimp seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, scallions and rice wine. This mixture then is mounded onto little toasts and deep-fried. The result is creamy on top, crispy on the bottom, and richly flavorful through and through.

While the toast in this dish usually is made of plain old white bread, sometimes it’s swapped out for a slice of baguette. Eureka!

The shrimp mixture could dry out during baking, so it needs protection or some sort of coating. Reach for a stealth ingredient — mayonnaise. It makes a terrific glaze. Spike it with some sesame oil and sprinkle it with sesame seeds and, sure enough, the shrimp topping will stay creamy.

Baked Sesame Shrimp Toasts

32 diagonally sliced 1/2-inch-thick baguette slices

Cooking spray

1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 large egg white

2 1/2 teaspoons sake, Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided

Heaping 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon sugar

4-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped

2 scallions, finely chopped (about 1⁄4 cup)

1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, arrange the baguette slices in a single layer. Spritz the bread slices on both sides with cooking spray. Bake them on the oven’s middle shelf for 4 minutes. Remove them from the oven, turn over each slice, then set aside. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor, combine the shrimp, egg white, sake, ginger, garlic, hot sauce, 1⁄2 teaspoon of the sesame oil, the salt and the sugar. Puree until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the water chestnuts and scallions.

In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Mound a rounded tablespoon of the shrimp mixture on top of each toast and spread evenly over the toast. Brush the top of each mound with some of the mayonnaise mixture, then sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake on the oven’s middle shelf for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the shrimp mixture is just cooked through. Serve hot.

Start to finish: 40 minutes (20 minutes active).

Makes 32 toasts.

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