Shrimp toasts, bite-sized triangles of bread topped with shrimp paste are a popular dim sum item and a new addition to our Chinese New Year celebration. It is said the dish originated in Guangzhou (Canton) in China nearly a hundred years ago. There are others who claim it is a hybrid of a traditional Chinese shrimp recipe and bread, not native to China but introduced by foreign travelers to Hong Kong. I chose to use a recipe from Susannah Foo, a popular and highly acclaimed Philadelphia chef who eponymous restaurant closed in 2009. Shrimp toasts are often fried, this version is baked and can be made ahead and frozen, a big plus when you are serving an extensive menu. This year we celebrate the year of the rooster, which comes after a monkey year and before a dog year. Roosters are said to honest, bright, communicative and ambitious.
Baked Shrimp Toasts
Makes 3 dozen or more
- 10 to 12 slices thinly sliced white bread, crusts removed
- 1 large egg white
- 1 lb medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 T heavy cream
- 1 T vodka
- 1 t kosher salt
- ½ c chopped water chestnuts
- 2 scallions, minced
- Preheat oven to 250° Cut each piece of bread into 4 triangular pieces. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about twenty minutes, until the bread is dry but not browned; leave oven on.
- While the toast is drying, beat the egg white lightly. Dry the shrimp well with a paper towel and place in a food processor; puree.
- Add the egg white, cream, vodka and salt. Process until just pureed. Transfer to a bowl.
- Add the water chestnuts and scallions to the shrimp mixture and mix just until all the ingredients are combined.
- If you are baking the shrimp toasts immediately, increase the oven temperature to 375°F and coat a baking sheet lightly with non stick spray.
- Spread 2 heaping teaspoons of the shrimp mixture on each piece of bread. Repeat with the remaining triangles.
- At this point, the shrimp toast can be frozen for later use. Place the triangles on baking sheets and freeze. Once frozen, remove from the baking sheets, place in freezer bags and return to the freezer.
- Bake frozen shrimp toasts directly from the freezer, about 10 minutes, the shrimp will be cooked through, all the ingredients hot and the toast is golden brown on the bottom. Triangles that were not frozen will take a little less time.