Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Shrimp and Sweet Potato Cakes with Chayote Slaw and Chipotle Tartar Sauce

In the four years that I've been documenting everything coming out of my kitchen, I think this is the very first time I've made an appetizer just as described, complete with serving it as directed. Normally I'm all, "Oh, well, a single wing is an appetizer but if I eat 10 wings it makes a meal so I should bake a potato and call it dinner."

Shrimp and Sweet Potato Cakes with Chayote Slaw and Chipotle Tartar Sauce
from Bon Appetit, January 2000 but also found at Epicurious
click to print them all, or click to print them individually: Chipotle Tartar Sauce, Chayote Slaw, Shrimp and Sweet Potato Cakes

Chipotle Tartar Sauce
1 c mayonnaise
2 tbsp drained capers, chopped
2 tbsp dill pickles, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp canned chipotle chiles, minced

Chayote Slaw
1 poblano chile
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 tbsp plus 1/2 cup olive oil
4 c matchstick-size strips pitted chayote** (from 3 medium)
1/3 c Sherry wine vinegar
2 tsp Latin Spice Mix
2 tsp chopped fresh cilantro

Sweet Potato Cakes
1 lb tan-skinned sweet potatoes
4 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
4 tbsp (or more) vegetable oil, divided
8 oz peeled cooked large shrimp, coarsely chopped
2/3 c chopped fresh cilantro
2/3 c panko
2 tbsp finely chopped poblano chile
2 tbsp finely chopped red onion
1 1/2 tsp Latin Spice Mix
All purpose flour

For Chipotle Tartar Sauce
Mix all ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Season to taste with salt.

For Chayote Slaw
Char chile and bell peppers over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides.

The poblano was on a third burner.

Enclose in bowl covered with plastic 10 or more minutes.

Peel, seed and cut chile and peppers into matchstick-size strips.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chayote and sauté; just until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Cool completely.

Combine Sherry wine vinegar and 2 teaspoons Latin Spice Mix in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup olive oil. Mix in fresh cilantro. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper.

Combine chayote, chili and peppers in bowl. Toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; refrigerate.)

For Sweet Potato Cakes
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Pierce potatoes all over with fork. Place on baking sheet. Bake 45 minutes.

Toss garlic with 1 tablespoon oil in small bowl. Enclose garlic in foil. Place on baking sheet with potatoes. Bake until potatoes and garlic are tender, about 30 minutes.

The smaller potatoes were already done so were allowed to cool on a plate while the remaining two potatoes and garlic baked.

Cool garlic and potatoes slightly.

I roasted too many potatoes but proceeded with about 1 pound.

Remove peel from garlic. Remove skins from potatoes. Combine potatoes and garlic in bowl. Mash until smooth.

Add shrimp, cilantro, panko, chile, onion and 1 1/2 teaspoons Latin Spice Mix. Stir to blend well. Season with salt.

Form mixture into six 3-inch-diameter patties.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly coat cakes in flour.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook cakes in batches until brown, adding more oil if necessary, about 2 minutes per side.

Place on baking sheet. Bake until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Spoon Chayote Slaw in center of plates. Place 1 cake on each plate. Spoon Chipotle Tartar Sauce atop cakes; serve.

I don't know what I liked more, the cakes or the sauce. The potato cakes, I mean just the mashed potatoes with garlic were good enough to eat, but with the shrimp and the chile and red onion and seasonings, oh my god. So good. And the tartar sauce, I could eat spoonfuls of the stuff! A little sweet, a little crunchy, a little spicy, mmm! The slaw was not that great and won't happen again.

For the nuts and bolts. The potato cakes are pretty huge. Each one was about one cup of potato mixture which is really filling. Forming the cakes were a little annoying since they were still pretty sticky and a little loose. More than what I'd consider a light coating of flour was necessary in order to keep them from sticking to everything, including my hands. When I do these again, I'll add more panko to help bind the cakes or patty, flour, and maybe refrigerate them before frying. I'll consider making 9 patties instead of 6 too. I liked the slightly crunchy exterior against the soft interior. Too much soft (mushiness) though was a little unsettling.

The remaining five cakes will be stored flat in the refrigerator to be reheated tomorrow. I think they should be just as good reheated in the oven since they weren't swimming in oil during prep today.

Total: $16.16 or about $2.69 for each of six servings.

My parents showed up and served as wonderful guinea pigs for my Latin menu, willing to wait and eat dinner around midnight after driving across the country. We started with this dish.

Three of the potato cakes were placed on a baking sheet misted with oil as the oven preheated to 375°F. Meanwhile I prepped plates with slaw and stirred the sauce, which was served on the side. After the cakes were warmed through, about 15 minutes, they were plated and consumed.

My parents both cleaned their plates and I opted to skip the majority of the slaw. Mom noted that the chayote was cucumbery, which she liked. Dad didn't say much about it. I found that the cakes reheated very well and was glad there were a couple left.

Dad and I ate the last of the Shrimp and Sweet Potato Cakes with the Chipotle Tartar Sauce, skipping the dumb slaw. Still delicious!