Passport to Flavor: Shrimp Toast with Cucumber Salad

There are just days when you don’t want to put real pants on and go out and be around people. And that’s totally okay! When that happens and I have a craving for my favorite Thai restaurant I get in the kitchen and get to work.

This dish looks really impressive and is actually super easy to put together. It was really hard not to eat the whole tray before I was done frying!

Honestly though, if you live in Nashville or plan on visiting here anytime soon you must go to International Market. I practically lived at IM during college (I think I would have starved if not for Patti Myint) and her son & daughter have done an amazing job creating a space that is reminiscent of the original (I have literally cried over the egg rolls) while introducing us to new, exciting Thai food you can’t get anywhere else. Chef Arnold inspires me and gets me super jazzed to learn everything I can about Thai cuisine and stretch my culinary muscles in the kitchen. Go here immediately!

Shrimp Toast with Cucumber Salad
Serves: 4-6, Prep time: 30 minutes, plus 1-2 hours to marinate

1 baguette, sliced into ½ inch (or a little less) slices – about 18
1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 clove garlic
½ inch fresh ginger, grated
2 green onions, chopped
Salt & pepper
2 oz. jar sesame seeds
Canola oil

Cucumber salad:
1 English cucumber, seeds removed and sliced into thin half moons
2 roma tomatoes, seeds removed and diced small
½ small red onion, sliced thin
1 cup water
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 jalapeno, sliced in half, seeds removed (optional)

To make the cucumber salad, stir together water, vinegar, sugar and jalapeno in a small saucepan. Heat over medium until sugar is dissolved. Mix together cucumbers, tomatoes and red onion in a glass bowl. Season with salt & pepper. Cover cucumber salad with hot vinegar liquid, stir to combine. Let cool slightly, cover with plastic wrap and let marinate for a minimum of 1-2 hours before serving.

For shrimp toast: combine shrimp, garlic, ginger, and green onions in a food processor. Process until shrimp turn into a paste. Season with salt & pepper. Set aside.

Heat canola oil in a deep sided skillet over medium-high heat.* While oil is heating, spread a spoonful of shrimp paste evenly on each piece of bread. Pour sesame seeds on a plate or in a shallow dish. Dip toast, shrimp side down, into the sesame seeds to coat. Carefully place toast, shrimp side down, in hot oil. Fry for 1-2 minutes, until shrimp are cooked and sesame seeds are toasted. Gently flip the toast and fry on the other side for 30 seconds. Remove toast from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Transfer to a sheet pan and keep warm in an over set to the lowest or “warm” temperature. Continue frying until all toasts are done.

Serve with cucumber salad. Enjoy!

*To test that the oil is hot enough, test by putting the handle of a wooden spoon in the oil. Tiny bubbles should rise quickly around the spoon. Or you can test by frying a small piece of bread. The bread should bubble and turn brown but not burn quickly. If the bread burns quickly remove oil from heat and let cool down. If bread sinks and barely bubbles remove and let oil continue to heat.

Source: Ruth’s Table, 2022. Cucumber salad inspired by Chef Arnold Myint

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