Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chickpea Fritters with Grilled Shrimp & Lemon Mayo

Whenever a new LCBO magazine appears at my local wine store, there's usually a mad rush to pick up the latest issue to see what culinary delights are hidden inside. There have been times that I've waited too long to pick up an issue, and have had to stumble my way through what's left — the french edition. The BBQ Issue that appeared at the LCBO this past August, featured a delicious Chickpea Fritter with Grilled Shrimp & Lemon Mayo appetizer that combined two of my favourite things — chickpeas and tiger shrimp. Not only does this savoury prawn topped fritter look fabulous, it tastes great.

Served as an appetizer, the fritters and tiger shrimps should be quite a small, delicate and easy bite-size hors d'oeuvre, perfect for popping in your mouth in one 'go'. But actually, I prefer serving these Chickpea Fritters with Grilled Shrimp as a first course, going 'over the top' with a full size tiger prawn — 6 to 8 pieces per pound — on a larger, thick and crispy chickpea fritter, with a more generous dollop of mayo and onion sprouts and served over a small bed of mesclun lettuce, for a finer presentation. 

Chickpea Fritters with Grilled Shrimp & Lemon Mayo
Makes 18 appetizers
Recipe courtesy of LCBO

1⁄2 lemon
2 tsp lemon zest
1⁄2 cup olive oil mayonnaise
1⁄2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1⁄2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1⁄4 tsp salt

1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
3⁄4 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 large egg
1 tbsp butter, melted
1/3 cup whole milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chopped parsley or cilantro
1 tbsp chopped thyme
1⁄4 tsp cayenne pepper
Olive oil for frying

18 large tiger shrimp, peeled and deveined
Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
1⁄4 tsp ground cumin
Pinch cayenne
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Onion sprouts, or finely shredded green onion for garnish

For the mayonnaise, place the cut side of the lemon down in a non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat. Cook for 5 minutes, or until surface of lemon has caramelized. Remove from heat. Squeeze the juice into a food processor. Using a spoon, remove the pulp and add it, plus the lemon zest, mayonnaise, and parmesan to the lemon juice. Pulse until smooth. Stir in pepper and salt. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble.

For the fritters, in a medium-sized mixing bowl mash the chickpeas with a potato masher until some small chunks remain. Stir in garlic, parsley, thyme and cayenne. Add egg, butter and milk to bowl and whisk to combine. In a separate medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Pour chickpea mixture over flour mixture and stir until no streaks of flour remain.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Using wet fingers, add a generous 1 tbsp of dough at a time to the pan, then form the fritters into flattened disks roughly 1⁄2 inch thick. Fry them in batches adding more oil when necessary, 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden and crisp. If making ahead, cover, refrigerate and warm when ready to serve.

Preheat indoor or outdoor grill to medium-high. Toss shrimp with lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, cayenne, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange on grill and cook, turning once, for 4-5 minutes, or until pink and cooked through.

To assemble, place a small dollop of lemon mayonnaise on each fritter. Top with a single shrimp and garnish with onion sprouts.