Do you ever notice how some of your best kitchen creations are made on the fly? Pulled together spontaneously with whatever’s lurking in the fridge or lingering in the pantry? That’s the story behind this finger food. Because I hate to waste, especially real food … good food, I was stressed out about using up some leftover boiled shrimp and ripe and ready avocados I had on hand. My initial thought was to simply toss them in a salad with greens and a lemon vinaigrette. But as I was cleaning the greens, I remembered that I had a fresh loaf of sourdough bread on hand that I had picked up from Panera that morning. The thought of grilling the bread and making some sort of light and bright open-faced sandwich/crostini/bruschetta (or whatever you want to call it) with the avocados and shrimp suddenly sounded more appealing than the bread’s initial fate–a hearty, meat-and-cheese-stuffed panini. The process was simpler too. Because the avocados were already perfect and my hubby’s boiled shrimp were spiced-to-kill (that’s a complement in New Orleans), all I had to do to get these ingredients on the plate was grill the bread, smash the avocados with lemon juice (to keep them from crossing over to the “dark side”) and toss the shrimp with a couple of tablespoons of warm garlic oil (to get them out of their refrigerator funk). I’m pleased with how everything turned out. I’d love to know what you think!
As for the drink du jour, I have a suprising little grape number for you to try on this Finger Food Friday! Wine. Sweet … white … wine. Moscato to be exact. There, I said it! Hard to believe? Yea, tell me about it. Never in my right mind would I have thought that I would like–and actually enjoy–a sweet wine. But it’s really, really refreshing, especially during these sweltering summer months. My niece, who just turned 21, was drinking this stuff back in February when she and the family came to visit. At the time, I snubbed my nose at it. But since then, everywhere I turned it was Moscato, Moscato, Moscato. My curiosity finally got the best of me and I broke down and bought a bottle. Ed Hardy, as in fashion designer Ed Hardy, bottles the one I’ve been drinking. It’s lightly acidic with a peachy, melony vibe. And it has a crispness and brightness that pairs perfectly with the grilled bread.
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Grilled Bread with Smashed Avocados and Shrimp Recipe
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 ripe Hass avocados
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
24 well-seasoned boiled or steamed medium shrimp (about 1 pound), peeled
12 slices (1/2-inch thick) sourdough bread
Combine olive oil and garlic in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook until garlic is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Remove and discard garlic; set aside. Halve and pit avocados. Scoop out flesh into a medium bowl. Pour lemon juice over avocados and smash with the back of a fork. Season to taste with salt; set aside. Place shrimp in a separate bowl, toss with 1 tablespoon garlic oil and set aside. Preheat grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat. Brush both sides of sliced bread with the remaining garlic oil. Place bread on the grill and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown and charred in spots, about 4 minutes. Divide avocado mixture evenly among bread slices, cut each slice in half and place one shrimp on each half. Sprinkle with sea salt and crushed red pepper. Serve immediately. Makes 24 crostini.