During our time in England, one of my favorite places to eat was Nandos in Milton Keynes. It was a little bit of a drive and the parking could be complicated but without fail, the hot and spicy chicken would always satisfy. And so, in memory of those good times, i wanted to recreate a little of that magic here in the room for Feast 36… I opted for shrimp instead of chicken because the thought of quickly touch fried shrimp sounded absolutely delicious. I certainly wasn’t wrong there, they turned out fabulous. I started researching the history of Peri-Peri and it originates with the Portuguese colonization in Africa. The spicy coastal European flavors melding with the fiery hot native peppers were a recipe for perfection in my opinion.
Given the main dishes culinary pedigree, i wanted to keep it thematic so i researched other Portuguese dishes and came across Caldo Verde. This is the ubiquitous Portuguese green soup, a signature dish of the culture from what i have read. I thought that having a soup alongside the shrimp would have been a bit unbalanced for a plate so i decided to modify the preparation technique but preserve the flavor combination. So, i guess i made something new, well, new to me anyway. I leaned on the prep methods of a ratatouille and used the Caldo Verde ingredients to create a spicy flavorful casserole. call it what you will, i’ll call it tasty…
First, the Peri Peri Shrimp. I sourced this base recipe from epicurious, my ever reliable source of knowledge. I modified the peppers used in the sauce, using 4 habaneros and 4 hot red chilis, not weighing them but using what i considered enough to light the fire. I finely minced the peppers, seeds and all and mixed them in with 2 cups of olive oil, 8 cloves of minced garlic and the zest of a lemon. hit that with your immersion blender to get the peppers down to a nice puree and refrigerate for as long as you can keep it. the original recipe says that it really hits its stride at the 2 week mark, i look forward to using it then in another dish… i ended up letting mine mingle for about 10 hours in the fridge, it turned out pretty flavorful. the shrimp themselves take about 10 minutes so be sure and not start them too early in relation to your other dishes. melt 1/2 cup of butter in a hot pan and add to this 6 cloves of thinly sliced garlic. let these soften but not brown. add in a pound of shrimp, deveined, deheaded, tail on… squeeze the juice of one lemon over top and stir in a healthy dollop of your peri-peri sauce. stir fry until the shrimp turn pink and not a moment longer. salt and pepper to taste. plate and serve immediately.
For the Caldo Verde casserole, i took two thinly sliced red potatoes, 1/2 a head of cabbage (shredded thin), 2 links of chorizo (crumbled), 1/2 of a yellow onion sliced thinly and 8 cloves of thinly sliced garlic.
layer them in a lightly oiled baking dish starting with the potatoes then the onions. drizzle a bit of olive oil and add fresh ground salt and pepper. then add the cabbage, the garlic and finally the chorizo. repeat these layers at least one more time. bake in a 375 degree oven for about 25 minutes. cut and serve immediately.
you know, looking at the photos, its kinda silly to call it Caldo Verde since i used purple cabbage instead of kale or green cabbage. anyway, it tasted great, you should try it.
for a beverage, we went crazy and leaned on the spicy influence of the dish, forgoing the normal beer and opting instead for fruit juice. Mango juice to be exact. With copious amounts of vanilla vodka. so very, very tasty and perfect with spicy dishes. very refreshing.
I was quite proud of my restructured Caldo Verde. It turned out nicely, held its shape well and the flavors were amazing. I’m sure the soup is pretty good too, i have never had it but i will be going this route if i make the dish in the future. The shrimp had a nice kick to them, finger licking good but thats the nature of shrimp inherently in my experience. in retrospect i would have made a bit of pita or some other bread to sop up the juices of the lovely dishes but hindsight as they say…
another week down, 3/4 of the way finished. 12 more meals to go. hope you enjoyed reading.