I wanted to do something with shrimp without actually making a shrimp burger so I figured making a little surf and turf in a sandwich would be interesting. I remember doing a surf and turf with scallops in a red wine reduction once, and we considered topping the burgers with something similar, but ultimately we turned to one of my favorite tapas.
A couple of weeks ago, a few of us went to a wonderful little place in San Francisco called Esperpento. We ordered some of their gambas al ajillo. While gambas are pretty standard fare as far as tapas go, the ones we ordered then were really good. So tonight I tried to pull off my own version of gambas and found that they were really easy to make.
Gambas al Ajillo:
1/2 lb medium prawns, shelled and cleaned
3 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tbsp chili pepper flakes
smoked paprika to taste
salt to taste
Heat the oil on medium in a skillet. Once the pan is warm, but not too hot, toss the garlic and pepper flakes into the pan and stir fry, being careful not to burn the garlic. Once the pan is hot, throw the shrimp into the mix, followed by the paprika. I used about 1 1/2 tbsp paprika. Once the shrimps begin to turn pink, after about a minute or two, toss in the parsley. Shrimp gets really stringy and dry when overcooked, so remove the pan from the heat once the shrimp turn pink, but not entirely opaque.
The burger is the standard chuck, pepper and salt affair that we've turned to on many an evening during National Burger Month. Once the burgers are grilled to the desired doneness and are bunned, simply lay a few shrimp over the burgers.
We found that equal proportions shrimp to burger worked the best. Too little shrimp and the burger gets too burgery; we lose the shrimpiness. Too much shrimp and we forget we're celebrating burger month. And now, we'd like to call Shrimp to the podium.
Shrimp: Ahem. The winner of the Best Supporting Ingredient Award for this evening goes to Garlic! Garlic, come on up here and claim you award!
Garlic: Woooooo! Woooohooo!! I can't believe this! (sigh) I'd like to thank pepper for her support. But really, Olive Oil, I couldn't have done it without you. Olive Oil, this is for you. I had a great time working with you! And Shrimp, thank you too for giving me this chance to shine.
Shrimp: No really, you were there for me. You were there for me.
Garlic: They love me! They really, really love me!
Thank you Shrimp. Thank you Garlic. You guys were great.