So, as we often do, we went to Sweden yesterday to shop for cheap meat. That always sounds funny to me. Being from Texas, which is HUGE, the thought of going to an entirely different COUNTRY to grocery shop doesn't even begin to register. Because of that, even though I have been countless times now, I ALWAYS get excited about going to SWEDEN for groceries.
Things are cheaper in Sweden and the Norwegian kroner has about 15 percent on it's Swedish counterpart, so not only do we get cheap meat, we get an additional 15 percent off thanks to the favorable exchange rate.
Sweden is cheaper because they are part of the European Union and Norway is not. So, as an example, where a kilo of lean ground beef runs about $30 in the kingdom of Norway, in Sweden the same thing runs about $10. You do the math.
Anyway, yesterday was the day for Sweden. We set out from downtown Oslo where it was cold and raining and by the time we got outside the city, it was full on SNOWING hard. The roads were horrible. We were sliding around and I was terrified. My husband took it all in stride assuring me time and again that he had full control, but miss Houston, Texas was not convinced. White knuckled, I tried to think happy thoughts that would take my mind off of the snowy nightmare unfolding on the highway in front of us. So, naturally, I thought of food.
So, while Christopher dealt with REALITY and bravely navigated the icy roads, I was daydreaming of being at Pappasito's in Houston. You could call Pappasito's highend Tex Mex, not really authentic, but certainly good. I love their beef fajitas and I LOVE, love their shrimp embrochette.
Embrochette. It sounds very french and fancy, but if you deconstruct it, it seems very simple. Shrimp. Cheese. Jalepenos. Bacon. That's it. I was thinking that I could make that, when my cooking fantasy was interrupted by our imminent arrival at the grocery store in Sweden.
We had friends come over last night, so I decided I would get all 'I have dreams of owning my own Tex Mex restaurant' on them, and I tackled the embrochette head on. It was suprisingly easy and the results coaxed 'oohs' and 'ahhhs' out of our guests. Here is what you need:
8 Large shrimp or scallops
8 to 16 small, thin squares of white cheddar
1 fresh jalepeno, deseeded and deribbed and cut into 16 thin strips
8 strips of THIN bacon.
I used scallops because that is what I had on hand, and I really LOVE scallops:
And here are the ingredients you need:
Grab a scallop and butterfly it like so:
Take 2 strips of jalepeno and cross them and put a piece or 2 of cheese over it:
Continue with all the scallops and wrap them each in a piece of bacon. Treat the bacon as you would a ribbon on a gift. Same concept and you don't have to use toothpicks this way:
Put them all in a pan on medium high heat and cook them on each side until the bacon is crispy and the cheese is melty:
Meanwhile I took a head of baby cabbage and sliced it into thin ribbons and tossed it with a light coating of Greek dressing. I also whipped up some pico de gallo and guacamole and fried some strips of corn tortilla for garnish. The end result was gorgeous:
My guests were impressed and it is easy to understand why. It truly is one of the most PERFECT flavor combinations. The heat from the deseeded jalepenos is mild. The smokiness of the bacon perfectly flavors the scallop and the cheese gets all melty and crusty in the pan. Every bite seems perfectly balanced in your mouth.