Cozy Quick Lunch: Baby Shrimp Open Face Sandwich

I've been doing pretty well cooking joyfully at home lately and it feels great! But I can't say that I cook joyfully all the time. Don't get me wrong, I love and enjoy cooking, but to cook for a family of four with different dietary needs at least twice a day every day IS also challenging and it is challenging since I care that they eat what I make.

But I've been blessed with a great spirit and inspiration for cooking the past couple of weeks, not really sure why, but I think sometimes something like sunshine is the reason especially living in the Seattle area, or a few good finds at the flea market for the kitchen. 

This doesn't mean that I make fancy amazing dishes all the time, but it means that I'm trying new recipes with what we usually have in the fridge at home or spicing things a bit with the dishes I usually make. So here's one of the dishes I made for the family last week and it was a big hit. My husband loves baby shrimp or any kind of shrimp. My kids don't. But they do love mayonnaise and it worked. It really does make me feel good inside when the kids eat something new and like it. The key was the basil aioli I made. 

The sandwich for my husband is open-faced because of his Norwegian heritage. When we went to Norway, I had the most delicious and fun open-face sandwiches EVER. There were several types that they always served, and baby shrimp was one of my favorites. I don't have any recipe passed on from them, so here is my version of a baby shrimp sandwich. 

Basil aioli works great on the sandwich or with pasta salad. Just add basil leaves, garlic cloves, egg yolk, dijon mustard, lemon juice and olive oil in a food processor or blender. A magic spread, indeed.

Recipe: serves 2-4 people

Basil aioli

about a handful of fresh basil
1 egg yolk
1 big clove of garlic (or 2 small cloves)
1 lemon juiced and zested
1 table spoon of dijon mustard
1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

Put everything except olive oil in a food processor.
Blend it until everything is roughly mixed.
Slowly drizzle olive oil in the processor while blending until mixture is nice and creamy.

For sandwich

a really good baguette or italian bread
2 pounds of baby shrimp (cleaned)
a handful of baby swiss chard (or any type of green salad leaves)
1 lemon
hard cheese like emmental or parmesan cheese
extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove

Slice a baguette into 3" long thin slices. Slice a garlic clove and rub it into baguette slices and drizzle some olive oil as well. Toast the baguette slices on a grill or pan until it's nicely toasted.

Bring 6 cups of water to boil in a large pan with 2 table spoons of salt and a half of lemon. Add baby shrimps and cook with medium heat for a few minutes until they float on top. Drain the water and put the shrimp in a bowl of water with ice. Then drain the ice water. 

Mix baby shrimp with basil aioli. Paste some on the slices of bread if there's any left. Put baby swiss chards on the slices of bread and top it with shrimp. Sprinkle sliced/grated parmesan cheese, lemon zest salt and pepper, and bon appetite!


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