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Crispy Grass Shrimp/Chickpea Flour Pancake with Saffron Aïoli
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Crispy Grass Shrimp/Chickpea Flour Pancake with Saffron Aïoli

Michael Chiarello, Coqueta, San Francisco / May 2013

For 4 servings

Chickpea batter:

  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. pimentón
  • 1/2 tsp. gray sea salt
  • 1/2 cup sparkling water
  • 1 oz. vodka

Whisk flours, pimentón, and salt in a bowl; whisk in sparkling water and vodka; pour batter into whipper canister; charge with 1 NO2 cartridge; shake canister well; reserve in refrigerator.

Saffron aïoli:

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/8 tsp. saffron threads
  • 2 lg. egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp. pimentón
  • 1 1/2 tsps. Calabrian chile paste
  • 1 tsp. garlic, mashed with a fork
  • 2 Tbsps. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil, at room temperature
  • gray sea salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  1. Bring wine and saffron to a boil in small sauté pan; reduce by 75 percent (about 3 minutes); remove from heat; cool; reserve.

  2. Place egg yolks, pimentón, chile paste, and garlic in a blender; blend until smooth; add reduction and juice; blend well; with machine running, gradually add oil in steady stream until emulsified sauce forms; season; reserve.

Assembly:

  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 lb. shells-on, heads-on California grass shrimp
  • 3 Tbsps. shallots, minced
  • 1 tsp. gray sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 Tbsps. flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 4 Tbsps. cup scallions, chopped
  • 1 Meyer lemon, cut into wedges
  1. Pour oil into cast-iron skillet set over medium heat to come halfway up sides (about 3/4" deep); heat until deep-fry thermometer registers 275°F.

  2. Reserve 1 Tbsp. shallots for garnish; place 1 oz. shrimp in a bowl; season; add 1/2 Tbsp. shallots, 1/2 Tbsp. parsley, and 1 Tbsp. scallions; mix well; dispense 1 cup batter from canister into bowl; gently fold to combine.

  3. Spoon mixture into hot oil; spread mixture into a circle with metal spoon; cook until brown and crispy (about 1 minute); flip with slotted metal spatula or spoon; cook until brown and crispy on other side and cooked through (about 1 minute); remove from heat; place on wire rack to drain; blot with paper towels to remove all excess oil; reserve (keep warm); repeat process 3 more times with remaining ingredients.

  4. To serve, di­vide among serving plates; sprinkle with reserved shal­lots; place dollop of saffron aïoli on each plate; divide lemon wedges among plates.

What to drink: Engine Co. #5 made with Dancing Pines Bourbon, tobacco infused cream Sherry, lemon, and Zurracapote