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shrimp, meet bruschetta

It is "cold" in Charleston today, but yet the sun is shining and making the waters around us glisten. It can only make one wonder what is swimming around in these Lowcountry waters. Lately, the shrimp has been extra sweet, with a taste similar to lobster. I adapted this shrimp bruschetta appetizer from Giada De Laurentiis. It is a crowd FAVORITE! It sets the bar high for the rest of the meal. You can cut this recipe in half if you are only cooking for 2 to 3 guests. Perfect for a super bowl party, even! You will definitely score a touchdown with this one. Check it out.


1 (1-pound) loaf ciabatta bread, trimmed and cut into 12-14 (1/2-inch thick) slices, cut in half on the diagonal (if local in Charleston, I recommend Butcher and Bee sourdough or Tiller Bakery grit bread)

Olinda olio nuovo olive oil, for drizzling

Kosher salt, to taste


3 tablespoons Olinda olive oil

1 large or 2 small shallots, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 Roma or Campari tomatoes, seeded and chopped small

1/4 cup white wine, measured ahead and set aside in a liquid measuring cup

1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves, plus more to garnish

1 packed cup arugula, chopped and optional

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

Zest and juice of one lemon

For the toasts: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle both sides with olive oil to coat it from edge to edge. Pro tip: put some olive oil in a small bowl and use a pastry brush to evenly coat both sides. Bake until golden, about 10-12 minutes, flipping the slices and rotating the pan halfway through baking. Season one side of the bread with salt, to taste. Set aside.

For the topping: In a medium skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn your garlic!

Make sure you bring a plate next to the stove to put the shrimp onto when they are fully cooked. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, to taste, and add them to the skillet. Cook until the shrimp are pink and cooked through about 3 to 4 minutes total, flipping halfway. Carefully remove the shrimp onto the plate, let cool slightly. Chop into 1/4 to ½ inch pieces. Set aside.

In the same skillet, add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook over medium-high heat until the tomatoes start to soften and release their juices, about 4 minutes. Turn the heat to high. Add the wine and scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the stock and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the basil, arugula, mascarpone cheese, zest and juice of one lemon and chopped shrimp. Stir until the mixture is creamy. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange the toasts on serving plates and drizzle with the sauce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper before serving, and garnish with basil if you are feeling fancy.


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