It's Valentine's Day and Amy's home sick with a bad cold and a sore throat. Thankfully, we enjoyed our romantic dinner out over the weekend. Still wanting to make something special, we turned to a restaurant classic for inspiration. Maybe you've heard of Shrimp Alexander, the appetizer of breaded shrimp served in a lemony butter sauce made famous by Morton's the Steakhouse. It's a very good appetizer, but we wanted to make it into a meal, something romantic, something different, something with a Greek twist. Something we've coined Shrimp Alexandros.
Alexandros is a common Greek name that, according to Greek-names.info, derives from the words “alexo” and “andros," which, in ancient Greek, mean “hold off” and “of man” respectively. The name Alexandros was used in Ancient Greece both as a name and an epithet (adjective) describing a person who is unbeatable. That's not to say we think our shrimp dish is unbeatable, rather since we're giving a Greek twist to the dish, we're also giving a Greek twist to the name.
One of the things that makes this a perfect Valentine's dinner is that it works best with more than two hands. One person can take care of coating and baking the shrimp and making the spinach mixture, while the other person can make the sauce. As our motto says, "The couple that sautes together, stays together!"
We loved the crunchy garlicky shrimp atop the bed of spinach with chopped tomato and feta for a contrast of colors and flavors. A soft drizzle of lemony beurre blanc was reminiscent of the steakhouse original. The flavors were not overpowering, but strong enough so even Amy, with her stuffed-up nose, could taste them. This one is going into the "keeper" files - think how much better it will be with a gorgeously fresh summer tomato. Lovely!
6 colossal (U-12) shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 cup panko-style breadcrumbs
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 pound spinach
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
In a large skillet, melt one tablespoon butter with one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and stir for one minute, taking care not to burn it. Add the panko and cook, stirring often, about five minutes, until toasted. Transfer the breadcrumb mixture to a separate bowl and set aside. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter. Dip each shrimp first in the melted butter then into the seasoned panko until shrimp are coated with the breadcrumbs. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 450 degrees for five minutes. In a large skillet, saute the spinach and tomato until the spinach is wilted. Stir in the feta cheese and place the spinach/tomato/feta mixture in the middle of a plate. Place three cooked shrimp on each plate, over the spinach mixture. In a small saucepan, combine shallots with white wine and place over medium heat. Reduce until liquid is halved. Add lemon juice and continue to reduce until liquid is halved again. Remove from heat. Slowly whisk in the butter one piece at a time until well combined. Drizzle the plate with the sauce and enjoy with a chilled, buttery Chardonnay.