Pretty Dishes


Book Club Menu: Bloody Mary Shrimp and Roasted Red Pepper Toasts with Tuna
September 3, 2010, 12:18 am
Filed under: Recipes

All right, let’s finish this book club menu off once and for all, shall we?

Accompanying the standard nibbles that afternoon were two slightly more challenging (and exciting) small bites. I scanned many a recipe in search of a few flavorful, filling, elegant, yet not overly time-consuming complements to the other offerings.

The first appealed to me simply because I had been on quite a Bloody Mary kick at the time. I wasn’t planning on serving alcohol at the afternoon meet-up, but who said I couldn’t infuse a little into a sauce?

This recipe comes from Gourmet. It is best made no more than a few hours ahead—a fresh crunch is key. The flavor was really nice, though I think next time I will try thinned tomato paste or similar in place of the ketchup, which was quite sweet. I happen to own Chinese soupspoons as the recipe recommends for serving, though I didn’t have quite enough for everyone so I prepared small bowls with dessert spoons. Regardless, this is pretty impressive-looking and easy to pull together, too.

Bloody Mary Shrimp

1/2 pound medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
3/4 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons vodka (preferably Absolut Peppar)
2 tablespoons cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon bottled horseradish
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the shrimp, then remove from the heat and let stand in the water until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Cut the shrimp into thirds and transfer to a large bowl with the celery and scallions.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the ketchup, vodka, lemon juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, salt, and pepper. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Just before serving, stir the sauce into the shrimp mixture. Place a large spoonful of shrimp, vegetables, and sauce into Chinese soupspoons and arrange on a platter, or serve in small individual bowls.

I was also pretty obsessed with roasting red bell peppers (really, I still am), and I’m a fan of a good tuna salad, so this recipe from Georgeanne Brennan’s entertaining cookbook, Gather, really appealed. It’s quite simple, and the results are gorgeous.

The downside to roasting your own peppers is that it is rather time consuming, especially when the payoff disappears in mere moments because they are so darn delicious. If you don’t get the skins blackened just so, you’ll have pieces that stick and refuse to release without the use of a fingernail or knife. This just means you’ll make an even bigger mess than the juicy oils and seeds will manage on their own. (Wear an apron! And don’t even bother to wash your hands until you’ve finished with all the peppers.) With that disclaimer, it’s all worth it.

Roasted Red Pepper Toasts with Tuna

3 large red bell peppers
4 ounces olive oil-packed Italian tuna
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1 baguette, cut into 24 slices about 1/4 inch thick, toasted
1/4 cup snipped chives or minced fresh parsley

Roast the peppers over an open flame or on a sheet pan under the broiler until they are charred on all sides, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from the oven and place inside a paper bag for 10 minutes to “steam” and deflate the peppers. Peel off the skins, cut the peppers in half, and remove the ribs and seeds. Cut the peppers into 1/2-inch-thick strips.

Drain the tuna and crumble it with a fork in a medium bowl. Add the lemon juice and capers. Mix gently, but do not mash them together.

Top each toast with about a tablespoon of the tuna, then arrange a pepper strip on top. Arrange the toasts on a platter. Sprinkle the toasts with the chives, and squeeze additional lemon juice over the toasts, if desired.

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