Chef Adrienne Cheatham’s Creole Shrimp Toast
MAKES 16 TOASTS
2 scallions, white and green
parts, trimmed and sliced
1 small garlic clove, sliced
½ pound shrimp (any size), peeled and deveined, cut into small pieces
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon rendered bacon fat (optional but highly recommended—if you don’t have any, you can substitute extra-virgin olive oil)
1 teaspoon fish sauce or Worcestershire sauce
1½ teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, plus whole leaves for garnish
1½ teaspoons Creole or blackening seasoning (if yours doesn’t contain salt, add
½ teaspoon salt), plus more for garnish
1 egg white
5 slices brioche or white sandwich bread
2 tablespoons raw white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds (optional)
Vegetable oil, for pan-frying
1. In a food processor, combine the scallions, garlic, shrimp, salt, bacon fat, fish sauce, ginger, parsley, cilantro, Creole seasoning, and egg white.
2. Use a Microplane or small grater to shave the zest of the lime into the processor, and cut the remaining zested lime into wedges for later. Process the ingredients together for 20 to 30 seconds, or just until smooth.
3. Cut the crusts off of the bread slices and place them on a flat surface. Divide the shrimp mixture onto the bread and spread evenly, all the way to the edges.
4. In a small bowl, combine the sesame seeds and celery seeds and sprinkle the mixture over each slice, making an even coating. Press the seeds down lightly so they stick, and shake the excess seeds off.
5. Cut each piece in half (so you have 2 rectangles), then cut each rectangle in half so you have 4 thin rectangles.
6. Preheat the oven to 375°F and lightly oil a baking sheet. Heat a wide skillet over medium heat and add just enough oil to barely coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot but not smoking, place the rectangles shrimp-side down in the oil.
7. Fry until the sesame seeds are toasted and the surface is golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the pieces and cook on the bread side for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until toasted (add a drizzle of oil if the pan is dry). Place the pieces on the prepared baking sheet, shrimp-side up. Repeat with the remaining pieces until they are all lined up on the sheet.
8. When you’re ready to serve, pop the tray in the oven for 5 to 6 minutes, until the bread is crisp and the shrimp is warmed through.
9. Transfer the hot toasts to a serving plate and finish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Garnish with a sprinkle of Creole seasoning and cilantro leaves and place the remaining lime wedges around the platter.
TIME-SAVING TIP: You can skip the oven and finish cooking the toasts all the way in the pan if you plan on serving right away.