Around Mardi Gras time, it felt appropriate to celebrate with this recipe from the Top Chef Quickfire cook book and we were really looking forward to these crispy, shrimpy, scallopy beignets made by chef Jennifer Biesty in season 4.
The recipe was simple enough, but it took awhile to make because we were meticulous in chopping the shrimp and scallop and making the beer-based batter so it stayed bubbly. Also, despite cutting the recipe by more than half, we had a lot of beignets so K had to fry them in batches and keep them warm in the oven while the others finished in the hot oil.
The beignets were accompanied by an avocado puree and a red pepper sauce and we threw in a chili-lime mango salad because we needed to cut through the fried goodness a little.
We both wanted the beignets to be a little bit more crunchy (likely a product of being kept warm in the oven) but they were little clouds of seafood deliciousness with just the slightest hint of beer from the batter. The creamy avocado puree and cool, sharp red pepper sauce were perfect companions to the beignets. The salad was a little spicy, a little sweet and definitely a welcome departure from the fried component of dinner.
To further honor the Mardi Gras occasion, K made hurricanes to drink and even garnished them with blood orange slices. He’s quite the bartender.
We wouldn’t make this often (really rich, really fried and really labor intensive) but for special occasions I’d be first in line for a shrimp and scallop beignet or six.