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Hundred-Corner Shrimp Balls



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counts at the tips of his fingers how many things in this life truly will
give him enjoyment, invariably he will find food is the first one.”
~ Lin Yutang

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Hundred-Corner Shrimp Balls

Gourmet Cookbook:
More Than 1000 Recipes

Edited by Ruth Reichl,
Copyright © 2004 by Condé Nast Publications
(Houghton Mifflin)

Makes about 45 hors d’oeuvres
Active time: 1 hour
Start to finish: 5 hours (includes drying)

“We think this recipe from Nina Simonds, the Chinese cooking authority
and longtime contributor to our pages, is one of the greatest hoes d’oeuvre
recipes we’ve ever published. Thick of it as a fancy version of shrimp toast:
balls of shrimp filling are rolled in little cubes of bread, then twice-fried
to a burnished golden brown. The faceted corners of the diced bread give
this hors d’oeuvre an unusual and elegant shape. If the Museum of Modern
Art exhibited food, this would be a gallery draw.”

20 slices very thin firm white sandwich bread,
crusts discarded, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 cup drained canned whole water chestnuts
18 ounces large shrimp in shells (21-25 per pound),
peeled and deveined
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons finely chopped pork fat or lard
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or sake
1 1/2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons minced scallion
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
About 8 cups peanut oil or corn oil
for deep-frying
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon crushed Sichuan
peppercorns, lighted toasted, or
1 teaspoon sansho (Japanese pepper) plus
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Special Equipment: a deep-fat thermometer

Spread bread cubes in one layer on a baking sheet and let dry at room temperature for at least 4 hours.
Blanch water chestnuts in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and rinse
under cold water. Pat dry and finely chop.
Purée shrimp in food processor. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in
water chestnuts, egg white, pork fat, rice wine, ginger, scallion, salt, and cornstarch. Beat shrimp mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon, throw-
ing it against the side of the bowl to combine well and compact it. Dip
your hands in cold water and form a rounded teaspoon of mixture into a
ball, then roll ball in bread cubes, pressing cubes in lightly. Place on a
baking sheet and make more shrimp balls in the same manner, arranging
in one layer on baking sheet.
Heat 2 inches oil in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat until it registers 375 degrees F on thermometer. Fry shrimp balls in batches of 8, turning several times, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes per batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain. (Return oil to 375 degrees F between batches.)
Heat oil until it reaches 375 degrees F again. Fry shrimp balls again in 4 batches, turning frequently, until deep golden, about 1 minute per batch. Transfer shrimp balls to fresh paper towels to drain.
Stir together kosher salt and peppercorns in a small bowl. Serve shrimp
balls with peppercorn mixture for dipping.

Cook’s Note
The bread dice can be left to dry for up to 12 hours.

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