Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Foccacia and Shrimp

After making the malasadas, I wanted to make another yeast bread.  I heart baking.  Plain and simple.  There is nothing better than seeing your golden brown and delicious concoction coming out of the nice, warm oven smelling delectable.  I would bake steak if I could (I really have trouble cooking red meat of any kind).  So I went flipping through my Bread Bible (it's a real book.  Check it out on Amazon if you don't believe me!) and found a recipe for Rosemary Focaccia bread.  A little bit more reading, and I found a variation that used poached garlic.  Poaching garlic in oil sounds easy enough (it was only a three sentence segment in the whole recipe, so how hard can it be really???), but apparently it is really easy to screw up!  Case in point:

Just for the record, burned garlic does in fact tastes nasty. I do not recommend it.  After walking down to the grocery story and buying six more heads of garlic (I was a little scared I would mess up again.  Chances were good after all!), I made my second attempt.  Success!

Golden brown and soft, not smushy.  Just like the Bread Bible says.  I knew the Bread Bible wouldn't do my wrong!  So once the garlic was poached, it was time to make the focaccia.

First rise -- Very soupy.  Very stretchy!

Look at all those cute dimples of garlic! 

Ta-da!  Complete and tasty and warm.  Just like I like it!

Now I had a dilemma.  What am I going to eat this bread with?  I guess the easy answer is, "By itself stupid!"  But I wanted more than that.  I had to design a meal around this.  A meal that could stand alone, but also is greatly benefited by having this garlic foccacia as a side.  What did I come up with?  Shrimp wrapped in pancetta.  Can't go wrong there!

This is a super easy meal where boiling the water is the most difficult, most time consuming task.  If you don't believe me (again with you non-believers!) try it yourself.

Shrimp and Pancetta

10 large shrimp (peel off, deveined)
10 thin slices of pancetta
1/4 box angel hair pasta
1 cup frozen peas
2 Tbsp. garlic infused oil* (I made this when poaching my garlic!)
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. red chili flakes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 pinches of Parmesan cheese
  1. Put your pot of water for your pasta on the stove and set it on high.  Additionally, get your grill warming up.  I use my George Foreman, but an outdoor grill or grill pan work too.  Just get the sucker hot at this point.
  2. While the water is boiling, carefully wrap 1 shrimp in 1 piece of the pancetta.  Put in on a skewer, then repeat with the remaining 9.
  3. In a pan, add the oil, butter, chili flakes, and garlic.  Let the butter melt, and the flavors mingle.
  4. Once the water is boiling, your grill should be hot.  Add your shrimp skewers to the grill.  Let it cook 3 minutes on each side. 
  5. While the shrimp are cooking, add the angel hair pasta to the pot of water, and cook according to the instructions (it cooks fast, so you should really only be cooking it for 4-5 minutes)
  6. Halfway through the pasta cooking, add the peas to the pot.  You should also be flipping your shrimp if you haven't done so already.
  7. Drain the pasta and peas.  Add the oil and butter mixture to the pasta and peas.  Divide the pasta and peas onto two plates.  Top with a pinch of Parmesan cheese.  Rip the shrimp off the skewers and place 5 shrimp on each plate.  Grab a fork, and get your grub on!
Really, this meal takes 20 minutes or less.  And if you have a garlic press, then you can make this and not even get your hands dirty!  And, it makes a perfect accompaniment to garlic foccacia. 

* You can use regular oil, but you may want to add two extra cloves of garlic for the extra flavor boost!  Or not.  Whatever floats your boat.

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