Ilan Hall was a contestent on one of the past seasons of Top Chef. I actually thought he did a good job throughout the competition even though he was a massive jerk for shaving off Marcel’s hair while he was sleeping. I did think Marcel should have won though. ANYWAY…this is a recipe that Ilan made on the show (or something similar) and I finally saw it in a recent food and wine magazine issue. It has great flavor and they were very good, but the ones I made the first time came out a little greasy. I’m sure that could be eliminated by draining them longer or maybe using a lighter oil (grapseseed would be my suggestion). It takes some time because you have to let some of the ingredients cool between using them, but other than that, its a really easy recipe and satisfies that “deep south deep fried” craving I get every once in a while but with a fun Spanish flavor twist.
Makes 6 first course servings (although mine seemed to make more like 10)
- 1/2 pound of fideos (fine pasta in shape of birds nests)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup dry white wine
- large pinch of saffron threads
- 1/2 lb medium shrimp – shelled and deveined. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces. reserve the shells.
- 7 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 oz finely diced chorizo sausage
- 2 Tbsp sliced garlic plus one minced garlic clove
- large pinch of crushed red pepper
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup mayo (I used crema salvadorena instead because I detest may0)
- 4 tsp fresh lemon juice
Devein and peel your shrimp. Rinse and set shells aside.
In a saucepan combine the stock, wine, saffron and shrimp shells – bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for one hour. Strain out the shrimp shells and reserve stock.
Preheat oven to 350 and spread fideos on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes until lightly browned.
In a large saucepan heat 1 tbsp of the oil, add chorizo and sliced garlic. Cook over medium heat until garlic is browned. Add crushed red pepper, fideos, shrimp stock and bring to a boil, stirring. Cook and stir constantly until fideos are al dente and sauce is creamy – about 5 minutes. Stir in shrimp and season with salt.Remove from heat and cool to room temperature then stir in egg whites and refrigerate for one hour.
Shape the mixture into twelve 3 1/2 inch cakes – about 1/2 inch thick. Set on baking sheet and refrigerate for one hour.
In a bowl, blend the mayo or crema salvadorena, minced garlic and lemon juice. Whisk and add two tablespoons of oil and season to taste with salt.
In a large skillet (cast iron or le creuset is what I suggest), heat 1 Tbsp of the oil. Add 3 cakes at a time and cook over moderately high heat until browned on the bottom (about 4 minutes), being careful not to burn them. Turn over and reduce heat to moderate, and cook until heated through about 3 minutes more.
Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Repeat with remaining oil and cakes. Top cakes with the sauce and serve warm.
You can also use this complimentary recipe for orange saffron aioli sauce instead of the lemon mayo if you wish. It goes very nicely with the flavors.