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Top Chef competitor and owner of Calgary's Cluck N Cleaver, Nicole Gomes shares her recipe
2 lb peeled raw shrimp, 16/20 size1½ tbsp Thai red curry paste2 tsp Thai fish sauce (Three Crabs brand is best)¼ cup finely chopped green onions2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro1 tbsp lime juice1 tbsp palm or brown sugar, grated or melted with the lime juice and fish sauce in a small saucepanVegetable oil, for cooking
cup vegetable oil½ cup ginger, peeled and very finely chopped or grated½ cup finely chopped green onionPinch sugarSalt, to taste
To prepare the cakes, pat shrimp dry with a paper towel and place in the bowl of a food processor, filling only half full. Pulse just until shrimp are coarse. Do it in batches if necessary; there should be a mix of puréed shrimp with bigger pieces about a third the size of a shrimp. Be sure not to overprocess or you'll get spongy cakes. Place processed shrimp in a large mixing bowl and add the rest of the shrimp-cake ingredients, mixing well. In a small frying pan with a drizzle of oil, cook a teaspoon of the mixture to test for taste. Add more curry paste or fish sauce to add spice or saltiness.
Pack the mixture into a scoop and level it off (or scoop out about two tablespoons) and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Chill in the fridge for a minimum of two hours or overnight. (Wrap with plastic wrap if you chill overnight.) Once chilled, with slightly moist hands, delicately shape the scoops into flatter cakes, placing back on the baking sheet.
Heat a heavy sauté pan over high heat and add a good layer of vegetable oil. Place shrimp cakes in the hot pan, without overcrowding, and sear on one sideyou want to sear only until they are golden brown on one side and raw on the other side. Place cakes seared side up on a parchment- or foil-lined baking sheet. Once seared, cakes can be refrigerated until needed. When ready to serve, slide them into a preheated 375ËF oven for 5 minutes, or until cakes are pink all the way through.
To prepare the pistou, warm oil in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Add ginger and turn heat down to low. Allow to slowly simmer until ginger is soft, being careful not to let it brown; it should take 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately add green onion, sugar and salt to taste. Cool and store in fridge.
Serve shrimp cakes with a ½-tsp dollop of pistou on top. Makes 32 pieces (you should allow for a minimum of two per person).
Recipe Nicole Gomes, Janice Beaton and Simon OgdenPhotographs by Clinton HusseyProps styling by Nicole SjÃ¶stedtFood styling by Murray Bancroft