So now I’ve somewhat recovered from #BlogherFood16, don’t you think it’s time we finally started our spooky October/Halloween programming here on The Gluttonous Geek? I very much agree with you.
I was fortunate this month to have both the themes of Fandom Foodies and Food ‘n Flix line up in a fabulously crass and demented eclipse. Fandom Foodies‘ link up is proudly dedicated to the films of Tim Burton (or #Burtoweeen) and hosted by the wonderfully wicked Carrie Rashid at Witchy Kitchen. You can check out a whole host of recipes based on skeletons and scissor-hands here.
So if you’ve seen this gruesome, claymation and puppet-filled camp-fest, you might remember a certain scene that tallied your bananas. You might also remember Delia Deetz’s shrimp cocktail that went suddenly from slightly less than appetizing, to simply and literally stunning.
I will admit, I’ve not been all too big a fan of shrimp cocktail growing up. However, I hold the staunch belief that if you don’t like a dish, you can always reinvent it into something that you do. With this in mind, I wanted to take a card from Delia’s book on how I can make this more fitting to the character, and also more appealing to my own palate since I don’t have a house ghost to serve my cooking when it’s not to my liking.
While Charles Deetz is fascinated by the charm of simple, country life, Delia wants to be on the edge of modern trends to impress her New York friends. She takes the Maitlands’ decor and makes it over with all the pastel-toned grotesqueness the late 80s has to offer. So for this dish I wanted to make something high-end, trendy, and unquestionably grotesque.
Instead of making a simple shrimp cocktail, I opted to make shrimp pâté. Unfortunately, there are no oven-safe pâté molds or cake pans currently in the shape of a severed human hand. While, yeah, I could try to design and 3D print one to be cast, how does that help you in re-creating this? It doesn’t. This is why I simplified things by making a quick aluminum foil mold of my hands for a pate-filled puff pastry wellington.
I did a quick search and discovered that the most popular food in America in 1988 (the year of the film’s release) was sushi. To fit the bill, I mixed wasabi paste and sake into the pâté and then I whipped up a cranberry cocktail dipping sauce with pickled ginger.
I will note that you could make two meals per person out of this dish as it’s pretty rich and heavy. I suggest that you make the pâté and sauce the night before to let the flavors develop. You should even refrigerate the baked hands overnight to let the filling set and then warm them up the following day in the microwave. Granted, it will still taste good if you just scarf it down right after letting it cool. but just like the Maitlands, I think you will find that the best results are only a matter of patience.
Shrimp Pâté Wellington Hands with Cranberry-Ginger Cocktail Sauce
Equipment: Food processor, aluminum foil, baking spray, rolling pin, baking sheet, pastry brush, toothpicks.
- 1 lb cooked medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
- 20 extra large cooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails on
- 1 tablespoon sake
- 1 teaspoon wasabi paste
- 1 and 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons pickled ginger
- 14 oz can whole berry cranberry sauce
- 17.3 oz package puff pastry dough, thawed (you might need more than one depending on the size of your hands)
- kosher salt
The night before:
Make four, hand-shaped molds with aluminum foil. Loosely shape foil around a clenched fist and part of your wrist. Tear another sheet of foil and encase the back and sides to stiffen them. Repeat the same for the inside of the molds. Spray the inside of the molds with baker’s spray and let sit.
Puree the cranberry sauce with the pickled ginger in the food processor, empty into a container and refrigerate. Clean the food processor’s basin thoroughly.
Puree medium shrimp, heavy cream, sake, wasabi paste, a pinch of kosher salt, and one of the eggs in the food processor until smooth.
Preheat the oven to 400° F. Divide the puff pastry into 4 portions. Roll each portion out on a floured surface and drape each into one of the molds, carefully and lightly pressing to form a pocket. Fill each mold with pâté and trim the excess dough so there is a 1-1.5 inch overhang.
Roll out each dough excess portion, cut a strip the length of the mold, about an inch wide, and place on the top of the pâté and in the center of the mold. Fold over the overlap to meet with the strip. Mold the remaining pastry into hand-cover plates and place on top.
Mix 1/4 cup of sauce with a beaten egg in another dish and brush some mixture onto each hand with a pastry brush. Place the hand molds on a baking sheet and bake about 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool in the molds before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating overnight.
Carefully remove the foil and wrap from the pastries and heat them in the microwave on high for a minute and a half to two minutes. Stick toothpicks into the heads of the extra-large shrimp and insert them into the pastry in finger and thumb arrangement. Distribute the remaining sauce among four dishes. Serve each hand with a dish of sauce.