Monday, November 23, 2009

Courtney's Test Kitchen: Crepa de Camarones

Two weeks ago I got a chance to catch up with one of my best friends, who now lives in NYC. We went to a Mexican restaurant called Arriba Arriba which was just phenomenal. We both got white sangria (my fav), and I ordered Crepa de Camarones, which are "flour tortilla crepes with sauteed shrimp, cheese and a chili-cream sauce. served with white rice and salad." Now, I'm not going to lie- the conversation was great, but it was rivaled by my meal. Once my food came I could hardly concentrate. Of course I'm kidding a little....we had a great time, and it was so fun to hang out with her again...but for the next week I really did talk about that meal to anyone who would listen (which now includes you). I've never had "tortilla crepes", nor do I really know what they are- I think they're pretty much just fluffy tortillas. Yum. And I was a little nervous about the chili-cream sauce (I asked the waiter three times if it was spicy..."I mean, not even if you're a big baby about spicy stuff? What if I don't even like medium salsa?") but it was delicious. It tasted just like Cincinnati chili- which means it was awesome.

I vowed to make this dinner myself as soon as I got home. And yesterday I made good on that promise. I scoured the internet for recipes to replicate the dish, but I came up virtually empty handed. I found a few things that I could cobble together to get close, but nothing matched my memory exactly (I did find one recipe in Spanish- which had an ingredient that Google translator said was "saliva". Um, pass). So I decided to improvise. Here's the "recipe" we attempted:
  • 4 flour tortillas (the small ones)
  • 1 lb bag shrimp (medium size)
  • white rice (I made 4 servings so we'd have enough for leftovers)
  • store bought alfredo sauce- about a 1/2 cup
  • About 1 1/2 tsp Skyline chili spice (just the dry ingredients from this recipe-I had leftover from forever ago)

Cook the rice (instant takes 5 mins in the microwave)
Thaw and cook the shrimp- sauteed in a little garlic and olive oil
Mix the sauce and the spices, then heat in the microwave.
Heat the tortillas and serve.

Overall it was pretty good. We don't eat shrimp that often so that was a nice change, and it was fun to experiment a little in the kitchen. Plus I love that recipe for the Skyline seasoning, and this was a great, different, way to use it.

Even though we enjoyed it, there are a few changes I'd make next time. First of all, if you're paying more attention than I was, you'll realize I forgot the cheese entirely. Woops! That probably makes a big difference. Next time I'll add some queso blanco, which should give it some more flavor and substance. Larger shrimp might help too.

Also- I didn't serve them the same way as Arriba did. Ours were simply taco style, theirs had the shrimp and cheese wrapped in the "crepe", with the sauce poured over them and the rice on the side. I put the rice in because it looked empty with just the shrimp- maybe I should have remembered the cheese at that point? Oh well. And no, we didn't bother with salad- think beer is an appropriate substitute? We did!

If I was getting fancy, I might try to make my own tortillas, which might help them taste a bit fresher and fluffier. Or, this recipe for scallops seems like a similar concept, might be worth a try. But all in all, this wasn't bad for a shot in the dark. If you try a version of this yourself, let me know...(and you might as well make some Skyline Chili while you're at won't be sorry!)

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