Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Philly State of Mind

When I go to Philadelphia to visit my good friends (and now their newborn baby!) the trip usually consists of shopping, and planning when and where our next meal will take place. This weekend was no different. I have been in the market for a mid-century modern credenza (forever!) and my hunt continued in some of the great shops around Center City. Sadly, this trip didn't produce my big find, but we did discover a brand spankin' new mid-century housewares/furniture store that had their grand opening party on Friday night. I bought a bunch of glasses and my friends bought a new coffee table. Score! I also managed to blow some money on shoes (in a different store!). Check out some of my finds.

When we weren't shopping we were eating, and eating well. One of the cool things about Philly is all of the BYOBs that are around town. NYC needs more of those! It really makes a huge difference in the bill at the end of the night. We ate a great meal in the sidewalk cafe of a little neighborhood place where we were able to pull the baby stroller right up to the table, and crack open our own bottles of wine (for us, not the baby).

But we did manage to cook at home too. Since we had two pounds of shrimp and a backyard with a grill at our disposal, we set out to find the perfect recipe. My friends have Mario Batali's Italian Grill which is a great cookbook that I've considered buying, until I remember that I don't have a grill or a yard or any use for it. I won't even use my grill pan in my apartment because of the amount of smoke it creates. My smoke detector inevitably goes off and my apartment smells like whatever I've tried to cook for a week. (It's disgusting.) The funny thing is that the recipe we finally selected doesn't even have to be cooked on a grill. It's meant to be cooked on a flat cooking surface, una piastra, which essentially translates to a griddle, that you place on the grill. So, we didn't even bother with the grill and just cooked on the stove top. We were also supposed to skewer the shrimp but we skipped that step too. (We were hungry!) It was great. So great in fact, that I decided to replicate it at home. I even used my leftover rosemary to make the skewers. Check it.

Shrimp Spiedini

1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for cooking
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 Rosemary sprigs (about 6-inches each) or wooden skewers
Lemon wedges

1. Place the basil and parsley into a mini-food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. (Alternatively, finely chop by hand.) Add the chopped herbs, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and oil to a medium bowl and stir to combine. Add the shrimp and toss to coat.

2. Remove the leaves from the rosemary sprigs, if using. Skewer 4 shrimps per stem. Press on additional herb mixture that may have fallen off. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the shrimp skewers. Cook for 3 minutes, flip, and cook for 2 minutes more. Serve with lemon wedges on a bed of lettuce, if desired. Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a main course.

**Note: Keep additional olive oil on hand. I've noticed that the amount that you need to add to the herb mixture depends on the type of bread crumb you use. You want the mixture to be about the consistency of a thick pesto so that it will stick to the shrimp.


cbroh said...

We are the Philly friends of whom TIna speaks. The shrimp was delish as Tina would say. Tina was also able to serve food for the toughest critic of the weekend.. our 7 week old son.

Cheers and enjoy the shoes.

J,K and A

Karen said...

Sounds so fun...I want to make shrimp in those shoes with you making me a drink in those glasses. stylin'

Jill said...

Love the shoes...and shrimp is one of my faves. When we lived in Houston, my Dad has a friend with a shrimping boat. I always had frozen shrimp in the freezer. My husband and I used to eat boiled shrimp with homemade remoulade sauce while watching football on TV. Alas, El Paso has no professional team and I can't bear to root for the Cowboys.

Tina said...

Katie-You're a great shopping partner in crime!

Karen-I've always wanted to get into the Pillsbury Bakeoff finals just so that I could wear a dress with platform pumps and red lipstick. I should just dress like that anyway.

Jill-I think you should send me your remoulade recipe! :) Very jealous of the fresh shrimp. I'm convinced the "fresh" shrimp here is all previously frozen.

thecatskillkiwi said...

totally going to make this shrimp dish, it looks fantastic... next time your in philly try Amada or Tinto, Joes Garces restaurants food is mind blowing!