I adore Ethopian food. I love the warm spices, the communal presentation, and the simple, yet oh-so-complex flavor profile. Besides, anyone who will present me with minced raw beef combined with fantastic aromatics (most predominantly cardamom) and warm butter is a-okay in my book. I can not even begin to tell you how many times our favorite Ethopian restaurant has played surrogate chef on those nights where cooking was just not going to happen.
Here is our typical order:
- The aforementioned raw beef dish known as “Kitfo” Special (raw extra lean minced beef seasoned with mitmita, onions, & jalapno with melted cardamom butter)
- Gomen be Sega (sautéed collard greens, beef cubes, lamb and ribs with garlic, ginger, onions, and spiced butter)
- Atakilt (cabbage, carrots & potatoes sautéed with onions, fresh tomatoes, ginger & garlic in turmeric sauce)
- Salata (tomatoes, onions, romaine, jalapeno, lemon & olive oil)
and what inspired this post….
- Shrimp Tibs.
When researching what qualifies as “Tibs,” I learned that it is essentially meat and vegetables (or just vegetables) that are sautéed. The dish can range from hot to mild, and might contain little to no vegetables. Really? That’s about as unhelpful a description as asking a Maine farmer for directions. That said, the Shrimp Tibs I am accustomed to are shrimp sauteed with bell peppers, onions, tomato and jalapeños in a lightly spicy sauce.
Last Winter, we had a lovely dinner with lovely friends at a lovely wine bar, and one of the things we ordered was their “Skillet Roasted Shrimp.” As fantastic as it was, it reminded me of something I’d had once before, but something just wasn’t quite right. A few more bites in, it came to me - Shrimp Tibs! These two dishes needed to fuse! Of course I had to turn it into a salad, because, well, I love salad.
So without further ado, I introduce to you…Wine Bar Tibs! No good? Okay, I’ll work on a new title.
Shrimp Tibs with Tatsoi
1.5 lbs. raw shrimp, thoroughly cleaned and deveined
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely minced
3” piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 level tsp. ground cardamom
1 level tsp. ground coriander seed
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. smoked sweet and 2 tsp. smoked hot paprika
enough olive oil to make a paste (roughly 2 Tbsp.)
- Combine all ingredients (save for shrimp) in a medium bowl. Mix thoroughly into a paste.
- In a large plastic bag, gently toss the shrimp with the paste. Scrape all remaining bits of the paste from the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula.
- Let the thoroughly coated shrimp rest for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator (up to overnight).
1 Meyer lemon, cut into 8 wedges
4 medium/large green onions, whites diced up to the nicest part of the greens (yield about ¾ to 1 cup)
1 medium bunch of cilantro, roughly stemmed (some bits of stem can remain, but not the stalks – yield about 1 cup)
½ lb. baby tatsoi, thoroughly rinsed and dried, preferably using a salad spinner (if tatsoi isn’t available, you can substitute miner’s lettuce, baby spinach or any other similar green)
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
4 jalapeños, sliced lengthwise into quarters, seeded (WEAR DISPOSABLE GLOVES!)
4 Tbsp. grass-fed, unsalted butter (split into 3 and 1 Tbsp., respectively)
Healthy pinch of Himalayan sea salt
- In a large, heavy-bottomed cast iron skillet over medium-low heat, combine 3 Tbsp. of the butter and the sea salt.
- Add the lemon slices and jalapenos, and allow them to cook 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the butter begins to sizzle, turn the heat up to medium.
- Once the jalapenos and lemons begin to soften, the lemons will begin to release some juice. This is a part of the sauce, so no worries!
- Add in the shrimp and gently separate them with a silicone spatula. Bring heat to medium-high.
- Add the remaining Tbsp. of butter, the green onions, shallot and cilantro. Allow all ingredients to cook together for 2-3 minutes, flipping the shrimp once or twice to evenly sear on all sides. AVOID OVER COOKING SHRIMP!
- Remove from heat and plate all ingredients over the prepared tatsoi.