Yes, it was a vacation, but I'd offered to help out at benefits for University Hospitals (where I was born!) in Naples and Palm Beach by doing a short demo and getting on my soapbox about cooking for yourself in your house (or, in the case of Palm Beach, hiring somebody to do so; seriously, I honestly don't care WHO is cooking, only that someone is cooking in the house). I normally hate doing demos. It takes real skill, it's a different form of cooking. But Derin Moore, a bonafide certified master chef (see Soul of a Chef!), executive chef at the Ritz Carlton hooked me up big time, had me completely and thoroughly prepped out with an ace sous chef, Justin Shoults, himself a protege of CMC and competition animal Hartmut Henke, to prevent my making a fool of myself.
I did the ceviche ("OMG, I can't believe that's all there is to it!), demoed how to cure salmon ("That's it?! Twenty four hours?!"—yes! Contrary to what the food companies tell you, cooking is not hard!), and the following chimichurri shrimp. As I mentioned, I hate demos because something always go wrong. (Last fall I did a baking demo at the Cleveland Food Show and the ovens didn't work! For a baking demo.) I didn't want to do shrimp, but the party planner wanted me cooking something over fire on the beach so shrimp was the choice and I asked Chef Derin to set up his preference. In Palm Beach I did a curried shrimp that I love. Derin's chimichurri was awesome as well. The point was to show how easy and delicious shrimp are. They're all about the bite and the flavor you give them. Whether curry, chillis, or the following chimichurri, a staple in South America, essentially an herb vinaigrette.
And nothing went wrong in Naples, thanks to Justin, who did all the work. And the only thing that went wrong in Palm Beach was that I made fun of Snackwells again and called Kraft an evil giant, only to meet the former head of marketing for Kraft later at the bar. Lively conversation!
My new rule: Only do demos on beaches!
Derin Moore's Chimichurri Shrimp
This couldn't be easier. Just blend the ingredients, pour over the shrimp and grill. Derin served the shrimp over a simple slaw of shredded cabbage, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime, salt and pepper—you don't need a recipe, mix to taste!
1 tablespoon minced garlic
juice and zest from 2 limes
1 tablespoon chopped oregano
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ ancho pepper, seeded
salt and black pepper to taste
20 large shrimp, on skewers (5 per skewer)
Combine all the ingredients except the shrimp and blend till smooth. Pour the sauce over the shrimp and rub it all around so that the shrimp is evenly coated. Let it sit for 15 minutes, so the sauce can get its grip on the shrimp.
Grill the shrimp till it's cooked through. Serve on the slaw, or just stand around the grill and eat them there with cold, cold beer.