In pandespani shrimps enjoy the spotlight quite frequently. With their mild buttery taste, the slight sweetness that their tight flesh gives out and a smell that reminds more the wide sea than a fish, they gather many benefits among the seafood family. Cuisine appreciates a lot their fineness along with their flexibility to match plenty of other ingredients and to easily adjust in many cooking ways, creating from the most chic to the most rustic dishes, while remaining open to all kinds of new suggestions.
After saganaki shrimps, shrimps with pineapple, spicy shrimps with vegetables and flambé shrimps (recipes in Greek at the moment), the menu has kataifi shrimps with aioli and parsley side sauce. The so delicate and cute shrimps rest in a crispy kataifi phyllo nest before they spray some garlic and herbs perfume.
Τhis easy recipe could be executed on evenings when visitors arrive all of the sudden or in situations of “i came back home late and didn’t have the time to cook anything”. Even though it is quick and really easy, it certainly has a gourmet character and doesn’t lack tastiness or stage appearance.
The many legs and whiskers that make some people uncomfortable, have never affected the shrimps’ extensive relations with Van Gogh, or ours, i might add. Seeing them lying in the bowl with the marinade i even remembered why i like them. Bill and Will from Happy Feet movie instantly jumped into my mind. These two small krills (a relative of shrimp) were so lovable that made me reconsider about shrimps. From a simple, tasty bite near the sea, it suddenly obtained a higher value in my mind’s food chain and my respect begun to grow.
As part of Lent, although the shrimp recipe itself is allowed, our little “cheat” with the company of aromatic mayonnaise, highlights them. Aioli is the most aromatic version of mayo, with the addition of garlic and herbs, that often becomes more fluid (depending on the dish) if it needs to be poured over the other ingredients. How can you resist a taste so soft in the mouth and a smell so delicious?
The preparation of the basic, lighter whole egg mayo is so easy and of good quality that you automatically forget all these jars that dully pose in the supermarket shelves. Pure ingredients, without preservatives but with the right of personal enrichment. The fear-fame of failure… just forget about it.
The same recipe for kataifi shrimps can be executed with medium or smaller sized scampi. Aioli can be additionally aromated or become spicy, at will. Any variation you choose, the matching of seafood with this special dip is unique and 100% worth to try.
What to drink. Α division is created when it comes to deciding the drink that will accompany the camouflaged shrimp. You could be rational and choose a well -frozen Santorini wine or be romantic and choose a Barrel Fermented Chardonnay from Kokotos Winery, 2014, characterized by its fruity aroma made by mango, pineapple and peach. A little oily and balanced rich in the mouth leaves a cool and buttery acuity.
Kataifi shrimps in a crispy net with aioli
Preparation: 30 min. approximately – about 5 minutes for the mayonnaise and 10-15 minutes (depending on how familiar you are) to clean the shrimps. Very quick and easy recipe.
Ingredients (serves 2 as a first dish or 4 as an appetizer)
400 g. big shrimps Νο2 or Νο 3 fresh or frozen (10-12 shrimps)
1/4 packet of kataifi pastry
1/2 cup olive oil for the frying
for the mayonnaise dip with parsley and garlic
1 dose whole egg mayo (see instructions below)
1-2 garlic cloves
1/2 small bunch of parsley
1 pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
for the marinade
3 tbsps olive oil
zest from 1/2 -1 lemon
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 good pinch spicy paprika (optional)
salt, freshly grated pepper
To prepare the whole egg mayonnaise: In a bowl combine a whole egg at room temperature, 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar and 1/2 tsp salt. Whisk until blended (about 30 seconds). Combine 100 ml olive oil with 100 ml neutral oil of your choice. Start pouring oil mixture into the egg mixture in a slow steady stream while whisking in high speed. Lower speed to medium and add the juice of 1/2 lemon and pepper to taste. Try and adjust seasoning.
Note: All mayonnaise ingredients must be at room temperature.
Finely chop the parsley and mash the garlic. Add them into the mayo and stir well. If you want to achieve a bright green colour, put half mayonnaise with parsley in blender and then mix it with the rest. Alternatively, keep it simple or add herbs of your choice.
To prepare the shrimps: Clean the shrimps by using a sharp, pointy knife or scissors (comes more handy) to cut the shell from the tail to the head. Remove the whole shell (as if you undress the shrimp). Then, remove the black nerve located in the recess of the back.
While you make the mayonnaise and for 20-25’ put the shrimps in an oil, lemon, salt, pepper and smoked paprika marinade-spa to “relax” . We have added some spicy paprika as well.
To wrap the shrimps: With your fingers, open the kataifi gently, take some and start to tightly (as much as you can) wrap each shrimp. After you have finished with all, pour some olive oil in the pan to heat well (medium temperature). Fry the shrimps for approx. 1’ minute for each side. Remove with a slotted spoon and place them in kitchen paper to drain.
Note: If you want the shrimps to maintain their shape inside the kataifi shell, you can fry them in a fryer with more oil, so they float and they don’t create any flat sizes. In any case, remove and place them in absorbent paper to lose the unnecessary oil.
To serve: In a dish or a platter place the kataifi shrimps next to each other and accompany them with garlic mayonnaise on the side or a separate bowl. Their combination is impressive. Bon appétit!