Many years ago while attending culinary classes, I would come home after each class and duplicate the recipes and techniques in my own kitchen. The classes I attended were mostly classic French with additional classes concentrating in Italian cuisine and Mexican cuisine.
Most of my classes consisted of some sort of sauce that topped the recipe. Naturally, everything I prepared at home was now topped with a sauce. However, one evening I was preparing a Milanese. A traditional Milanese is prepared with very thin slices of veal, coated in breadcrumbs, pan sautéed and then garnished with a bit of chopped parsley. No sauce. Well, you could have heard a pin drop the evening I served this dish.
The first words out of my husbands mouth… “where’s the sauce?”. I replied of course, there is no sauce, this is a traditional Milanese. My oldest daughter said “but Mom, we always have a sauce”. And then my little gal chimed in as well, “yea Mom, we always have a sauce”. All I could do is laugh and then take myself off to the kitchen to prepare a sauce for my family. It ended up being just a bit of lemon, wine and capers, which actually tops a Piccata, but I knew they wouldn’t know the difference and would be ever so happy with their sauce.
From that day on, I always serve some sort of sauce with dinner because inevitably someone will ask “where’s the sauce”. I never imagined that this statement would extend to my parents!
My parents were visiting one Fall weekend, and I served a coconut shrimp as a light mid afternoon snack. They were delicious. However, out of my Father’s mouth came “Daughter, do you have a sauce for these shrimp?” I couldn’t believe my ears. I burst into laughter as did the rest of my family.
After rummaging around my pantry I came up with this simple Spicy Apricot Sauce. It’s fabulous with coconut shrimp, but I love it just as much with grilled gulf shrimp, or Mexican white prawns or Key West pink shrimp. The sweetness of the apricot, mixed with the spice of the asian chili and the ginger beautifully compliments the flavors of the shrimp. (Be sure to purchase only fresh, wild American shrimp as these will taste the best and are a much healthier choice)
This sauce is so versatile I even serve this over sliced pork tenderloin, grilled or roasted chicken breasts, and just recently Ranger Craig smoked split chicken breasts and I served this sauce with the smoked chicken. It was divine!
This sauce is simple, sweet yet spicy and most of all, delicious. I’ve substituted peach preserves for the apricot and it was just as yummy and I especially liked it over the pork tenderloin.
Make your dinner simple, fresh and delicious! Happy Cooking!
Grilled Shrimp with a Simple Spicy Apricot Sauce
1 ½ – 2 lbs wild gulf shrimp
Salt and pepper
½ cup apricot preserves (you can substitute with Peach)
½ teaspoon Roasted Asian chili paste ( I like Thai Kitchen)
½ fresh grated ginger (or you can substitute with about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
1/4 cup dry white wine (you can substitute with water)
Fresh chopped chives (optional)
In a small sauce pan heat the apricot preserves until it begins to liquefy. Add the chili paste, ginger and white wine, simmering gently for a few minutes. Let the sauce cool.
When the sauce has cooled slightly, salt and pepper the shrimp and skewer for grilling. Take half the sauce and brush onto the shrimp. Let the shrimp sit with the sauce for about 5-10 minutes while preheating the grill. Grill the shrimp for a few minutes on each side and basting with the sauce as you turn the shrimp.
When the shrimp is done, place them on a platter and drizzle with the sauce. For a complete meal, serve with steamed white rice or soba noodles and sautéed vegetables.
OPTIONS: When preparing the sauce for pork or chicken, prepare as directed. Roast or grill your meat and then drizzle the sauce over the roasted or grilled meats. Serve your entrée with a creamy parmesan risotto or a brown rice cous cous. Yum!