Holiday Bites: Sauteed Shrimp on Cheddar Bacon Bread

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Sauteed Shrimp on Cheddar Bacon Bread

I made Cheddar Bacon Bread on a whim one afternoon. The weather was brisk and I felt like baking and I knew Cheddar Bacon Bread would fill the house with satisfying aromas. I didn’t really have a plan for this bread, but I figured I could save it for a Sunday morning and serve it lightly toasted with a poached egg on top. Well, once the bread hit the heat the savory aromas I’d promised myself soon became a reality. Lo and behold, I was no longer alone in the kitchen. The aroma of bacon and bread drew my partner Ken up to the oven nose first!

Freshly mown grass, new car interiors, and the scent of cold hard cash – few things have the aural power of browned bacon and freshly baked bread. Except maybe melted cheese.

Well this Cheddar Bacon Bread has it all. Meaty. Cheesy. Decadent. I just had to smile when I saw Ken furtively checking the oven timer inquiring of my intentions for the Cheddar Bacon Bread. If there’s one true thing I can say about most kitchens it’s this: everybody loves the smell of bacon cooking. Really everybody. Even vegetarians!

I mean no disrespect to vegetarians. I’m not implying that vegetarians would or should eat bacon. But they like the smell of it and there’s real true science to explain why.

If you consider yourself a bit of a foodie, you may have already heard of the Maillard reaction.

At the beginning of the 20th century chemist Louis-Camille Maillard discovered that a chemical reaction takes places between amino acids and sugars during the cooking process. This process causes food to brown and savory aromas to fill the air. The science of it says that as food is heated up, the molecular structure of sugars in that food begin to break down and in the process release of a series of complex compounds. The majority of these aromatic compounds are hydrocarbons and aldehydes, both of which give off aromas that are biologically appealing to animals – including humans.

Sauteed Shrimp on Cheddar Bacon Bread

Well, Ken and I are humans. As we sat grooving on the aromas of the freshly baked Cheddar Bacon Bread Ken did something he never does. He made a menu suggestion. Forget brunch he said, why don’t we serve this Cheddar Bacon Bread as a base for a holiday appetizer. We wouldn’t have to wait until Sunday to eat it that way. His idea was to top each slice with an extra-large, spicy, buttery sauteed shrimp. A bit like handheld Shrimp and Grits. Making this a perfectly portable holiday appetizer with all the tastes, textures, and (yes) aromas that we both love.

So I did it. I combined two recipes to create one flavorful holiday bite. I know the addition of shrimp doesn’t make this Cheddar Bacon Bread any more palatable to vegetarians, but heck at least I know they’ll love the hydrocarbons and aldehydes wafting from my kitchen! GREG

Cheddar Bacon BreadSpicy Sauteed ShrimpCheddar Bacon Bread with SageSauteed Shrimp on Cheddar Bacon Bread

Cheddar Bread with Bacon and Sage

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 24Published
Cheddar Bread with Bacon and Sage

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 slice thick cut bacon (sliced crosswise into ½-inch strips)
  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 ounce English white cheddar cheese (cut into ½-inch dice)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup whole milk (plus more if needed)
  • 1 tablespoon losely packed minced fresh sage leaves

Directions

Set the oven rack in the center position and preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a 3 cup loaf pan or ovenproof terrine mold. Line with parchment overhanging both long sides by about 2 inches. Grease the parchment and set aside.

Place the oil and bacon into a 10 to 12-inch cast iron or heavy bottom non-stick skillet, cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until crisp on the edges but still chewy, about 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne. Add cheese, bacon, egg, milk, and sage; stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. You may need up to an additional 2 tablespoons milk to achieve a consistency that remains thick but falls from the spoon when tested.

Spread the mixture into the prepared pan. It should come to the rim for best browning. Tap the pan a few times flatly on the counter to release any trapped air.

Bake until slightly puffed and golden brown on top, about 30 minutes depending on size and shape of pan. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out very clean and nearly dry.

Remove the bread from pan and allow it to cool at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Serve alone, with butter or jam, or as the base for a savory appetizer. I suggest spicy, sauteed shrimp (see recipe here: http://www.sippitysup.com/recipe/spicy-sauteed-shrimp/)

Spicy Sauteed Shrimp

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4Published
Spicy Sauteed Shrimp

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 1 pound large shrimp (16-20 per pound)
  • 3 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • minced parsley and/or chives (as garnish)

Directions

Heat butter in a large cast iron skillet or non stick skillet set over medium high heat. Once it melts and begins to foam add oil, and then the garlic. Saute until the garlic begins to color, about 1 minute. Add shrimp to the skillet and continue to saute 3 to 5 minutes, or until shrimp just begins to turn pink. Turn off the heat and stir in hot sauce and cider vinegar. Gently stir the shrimp until well coated. Let rest in the warm skillet bout 3 minutes, then serve warm garnished with parsley and/or chives.