Shrimp Toast with Pineapple-Sambal Salsa

This week, it’s all about going back to tried and true family recipes. 

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and New Year spent well surrounded by happiness, family and friends. For this week’s post, I wanted to send you off into 2019 with one of my favorite hors d’oeuvres. I love it because it’s simple, flavorful and you can make most of it ahead of time, which is always a win in my book.  

Today’s recipe features Shrimp Toast with Pineapple Sambal Salsa. It’s actually one of the first true recipes I remember learning. Growing up, I have great memories of learning how to make the shrimp mousse as a filling for dumplings or putting it on toast for this recipe. Years later when I trained in France I picked up a few other techniques to make the mousse even lighter and airier. It’s such an impressive yet simple recipe and can be used in many applications. I love making shrimp toast as a hors d’oeuvre for parties because it’s the quintessential perfect bite. Crunchy, salty and packs a punch of heat and sweetness from the salsa. What’s better than that?

When making the mousse, I encourage you to use smaller shrimp here such as a 51-60. In fact, I’d go so far as to say don’t use U-15 shrimp in this recipe because you are pureeing it into a mousse. It would be a shame not to eat those whole! Another trick with this mousse is buying frozen shrimp. A lot of stores have peeled and deveined shrimp in the freezer aisle that is often of similar quality to what you could get at the seafood counter. Plus after making all the toast, you’ll even have a little extra shrimp mousse here; it’s like the gift that keeps on giving. If you can find wonton skins at the grocery store, feel free to go ahead and make shrimp shumai with it. The hard work is done. Simply form the shumai by following these directions. Hold a wonton wrapper in your hand, place 1 tablespoon of mousse in the center and carefully bring the wrapper up around the filling, pressing it to adhere to the filling and pleating as you go. Continue until you have about 6-8 pleats. Tap the dumpling against your work surface to flatten it slightly and steam in a wok/steamer set up for about 6 minutes. If you really want to impress, add one to green or black tea bags to the water in the steamer set up to add more flavor while steaming the shumai. 

Now, let’s get to the salsa-a two-ingredient salsa that is seriously packed with flavor. The pineapple combined with the spicy sambal helps add a nice touch of brightness to this dish. Dice the pineapple and mix with as much sambal as your taste buds can handle, it’s so simple you won’t want to leave this off. When combined with the crunchy bread and melt in your mouth shrimp mousse, this hors d’oeuvre will surely steal the show.  

When we make this at the restaurant or for events, we typically fry the shrimp toast. Here, I would use just enough oil to make sure you have enough to coat the pan to get the toast golden brown and delicious. You absolutely don’t have to fry, though if we are being honest, most things are better fried! With that being said, I’ve altered the amount of oil here to only include just enough so that you can get the toast golden brown and delicious. As a chef, it’s always about a little balance. This is one of those dishes that is fantastic regardless of how you cook it, yet still maintains some good nutrition. I’ll let Becca, my PR/Marketing guru and Registered Dietitian give her opinion on why enjoying dishes like this is important and how they can still pack in some good nutrition. 

Notes from Becca-

Thanks Chef! You are completely right. I wouldn’t change a thing about this dish. Often times when we drastically alter dishes to change the nutrition content, they never come out quite the same and we are left feeling like we are missing out. Rather than substituting, I love that we can use just enough oil to get the dish golden brown without sacrificing it’s deliciousness. It’s easy to get caught up in keeping up with nutrition trends, but over the holidays and in general, it’s okay to enjoy the foods you love. I actually prefer not labeling foods as good or bad. Because well, it’s not, food doesn’t get labels, well maybe delicious, mouth-watering etc. I think you get the point. Some foods may have a higher nutrition density or provide a bigger bang for your buck, but at the root, all food at some point contained some nutritive value. For instance, did you know that shrimp are fairly low in calories, only about 85 calories per 3 ounce serving, of which almost 90% of the calories are calories from protein? Talk about a good bang for your buck! So even though we may be pan-searing here, you are still getting a great source of protein as part of this dish. 

Eat Well With Ming Cooking Tip: Pineapple is a fantastic source of manganese, an important mineral known for its antioxidant properties. While considered one of the sweeter fruits, pineapples actually only contain about 82 calories per one cup. Plus, pineapple is also high in vitamin C, an important vitamin essential for growth, development and proper immune system function. Did you know that vitamin C also aids with iron absorption? 

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Shrimp Toast with Pineapple-Sambal Salsa

Shrimp Mousse
Makes 4 cups
1 ½ pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 eggs
½ pound butter, chilled, chopped up into 1/8-inch dice
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons sliced scallions
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste

1.    In a food processor, add the shrimp and eggs and blend until almost smooth.
2.   Add the butter and season with salt and pepper. Pulse until butter is incorporated, but still visible in small pieces. Gently fold in the ginger and scallions. Test a small piece for flavor by sautéing or microwaving it. 
3.    Place in a container, cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Shrimp Toast
Serves 4-6

½ pound shrimp mousse (recipe above)
½ cup sliced scallions, save 2-3 tablespoons for garnish
1 loaf thinly sliced bread, crusts removed, stale or dried is the best (Pepperidge Farm Very Thin Wheat is my favorite for this)
¼ cup sesame seeds
2 cups diced fresh pineapple
Sambal to taste

1.    Prepare a sauté pan and add 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil, or enough to generously coat the pan. 
2.    On a plate, gently combine the scallions and sesame seeds. 
3.    Spread ¼-inch layer of mousse on one side of the bread and sprinkle on sesame seeds. 
4.    Carefully place the shrimp toast in the oil, mousse side down and cook until golden brown, then flip and continue frying until both sides are brown. 
5.    Transfer to a paper towel lined plate, drain well and cut diagonally. 
6.    In a small bowl, combine the pineapple with the sambal. Start with 2 teaspoons of sambal and add more as you’d like until you’ve reached the desired heat level you like. 
7.    On a platter, align triangles and garnish with the salsa and leftover scallion greens to serve. 

Rebecca NorenComment