Most discoveries are made through honest mistakes. Write that down.
I’m just kidding, of course I don’t think I came up with that. It’s got to be one of the most common clichés. But like most things overused or over-said, there is some real validity in the message. So when I was plating another round of food at the birthday party this weekend and let the kitchen heat get to my head, it worked out in a way I could have never imagined.
Instead of a dollop of roasted corn and red pepper sauce, those pickled leeks landed on top of the shrimp cakes. Luckily I realized before I garnished too many and quickly removed them from the bunch and went along with the plating. But I’m not big into throwing things out, so rather than subjecting the guests to this mix up, I took a bite myself. (Light Bulb!)
Immediately I thought of this above appetizer and knew I would have to try it the next day. Making another batch of shrimp cakes and pairing them with a pickled radish, carrot, cucumber, jalapeno, and cilantro salad gave me exactly the flavors I was looking for. That amazing Vietnamese Sandwich, the banh mi, takes similar flavors to add brightness and freshness to pork and other fillings. These shrimp cakes were the perfect base for that flavor profile and with a little thai mayo, the whole dish really came together.
It’s amazing how much a little acidity can brighten up a meal. And quick pickling is a fantastic way to get that effect without the time and effort of true pickling. The key is to cut the veggies thin enough to take on the pickling in a very short period of time. If you have never tried this method, I highly recommend it. All it takes is vinegar, salt, and sugar and anything else you may want to add in to the mix. Perfect to cut the richness of any meal.
Banh mi shrimp cakes are an awesome app!