K is of the opinion that everything in life can be tied back to The Simpsons. In this case he was definitely correct. The Top Chef Masters contestants each chose a Simpsons character and had to make a dish for the show’s writers and actors that best represented their character. While we enjoyed Susur Lee’s “food portrait” of Marge (which he pronounced “Mar-guh”), the shrimp “sloppy d’oh” sandwiches (recipe here) from Rick Moonen were clearly the way to go.
I am not, nor have I ever been, a fan of the sloppy joe — too much mystery meat potential and too many “Manwich” commercials as a kid. However, freshly chopped shrimp in a tangy sauce I can easily get behind.
First, we needed to make a gastrique which, evidently, is carmelized sugar shocked with vinegar. Ours was a little less caramel and a little more liquid, but it turned out fine. In another pan, we sauteed garlic, onions and thyme. In yet another pan we reduced veal stock. Well, it was really a bit of leftover veal demi glace from a recipe we’d done awhile ago added to some chicken stock. Close enough. In yet another pot, we added crushed tomatoes to tomato paste.
After using nearly every pan and burner K owns, we dumped it all together in one pot with a little Worchestershire and Tobasco and left it to simmer. After cleaning and chopping the shrimp, we sauteed that (yup … another pan) with onions and some red bell pepper. The recipe called for green pepper, but I’m a much bigger fan of red so we went with that.
All the sauteeing paid off when the shrimp and the tomato sauce were combined into one delicious looking and, yes, sloppy mess. The recipe title said “truffle chips.” The recipe ingredient list simply called for “chips.” K really took it up a notch and, before I arrived, sliced a russet potato really thin on his handy mandolin and fried up fresh potato chips with a sprinkle of truffle salt. A quick toasting of the fluffy white burger buns with a little butter ensured that all the other goodness would have a delicious resting place.
Even though clean up of all the pots and pans was kind of a pain, I would totally recommend the “sloppy d’oh.” The shrimp was light, the sauce had a little kick and was pleasantly piquant. The chips were crispy and deep and salty. The bun was toasty and buttery. It was an awesome sandwich, perfect with a cold beer and worthy of Homer Simpson. I agree with the words of the man himself, “Marge, I’d like to be alone with the sandwich for a moment.”