Thursday, June 18, 2009

Grilled Shrimp With Sweet Potatoes And Chorizo

I have tried versions of this dish, or duo of principal ingredients actually a few times before. It sounds odd but shrimp and sweet potatoes have an affinity for one another and pair on the plate excellently. Shrimp’s texture and inherent marine flavor juxtaposes strikingly with the sweet, almost candy-like goodness of sweet potatoes. The last time I cooked the two together was for a dinner party with some college buddies late last December so it was high time to revisit the combo. I prepared a handsome rainy night dinner for myself this evening without exerting too much energy; everything I cooked had about four ingredients and required very little prep work or execution. First I mashed some roasted sweet potatoes with butter, maple syrup, and black pepper. I tasted the mash and thought for some silly reason that it needed minced cilantro which I had planned to garnish with. It made the whole thing taste of cilantro and its potent Latin-American aroma dominated the smell emanating from the plate. Heartbroken, I rendered some diced chorizo in a hot pan to draw the fat and crisp up the rust colored chunks. After draining the excess fat, I mixed the crispy chorizo pieces into the sweet potato mash for a texture contrast. The shrimp were even less work, tossed with olive oil, chili powder, and paprika then cooked on a cast-iron grill pan. They were spicy and nicely charred with firm yet tender pink flesh which complimented the sweet, albeit cilantro fueled sweet potatoes and salty crunch of the chorizo. Overall the match-up of incredibly disparate tastes thrown together on the same plate was not a total misadventure; I think it would be quite good in smaller portions as a hot appetizer or fish course in a lengthy multi-course menu. As always, I encourage you to enjoy and share delicious food and home cooked meals with yourself and others!

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