Vietnamese Baked Shrimp Toasts (Banh Mi Tom Quet Nuong)

Yum
  • Preparation: 20 mins
  • Cooking: 30 mins
  • Skill level: Easy
  • Servings: 8

Description Vietnamese Baked Shrimp Toasts (Bánh Mì Tôm Quết Nướng)

Traditionally deep-fried, Vietnamese Baked Shrimp Toasts (Bánh Mì Tôm Quết Nướng) can be greasy affairs. During frying, the toasts soak up lots of oil and the shrimp topping often slides off the bread. A few years ago, chef Susana Foo, in her eponymous cookbook, offered an excellent solution for making this popular Chinese snack: baking the toasts. Her idea caught my eye, and I was fast to adapt the method for a this Vietnamese Sandwich. The end product is a crispy, pinkish orange hors d'oeuvre that is delightfully grease free.

Ingredients

  • 12 thin slices white bread
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Salt for refreshing shrimp, plus ½ teaspoon
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1 tablespoon canola or other neutral oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced scallion, green and white parts (2 or 3 small scallions)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon water

Method Vietnamese Baked Shrimp Toasts (Bánh Mì Tôm Quết Nướng)

1, Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 250 ° F. Trim the crust from the bread slices and cut each slice into 4 triangles. Place the triangles on a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until dry but not browned. Set aside to cool completely. Increase the oven temperature to 350 ° F.
2, Refresh the shrimp by putting them in a colander and tossing them with a liberal amount of salt. Rinse immediately under lots of cold water and press gently to drain well. In a bowl, combine the shrimp, the ½ teaspoon salt, the cornstarch, sugar, pepper, garlic, egg white, and oil and mix well. Transfer to a food processor and process until a coarse paste forms. Return the paste to the bowl and stir in the scallion.
3, Coat a nonstick baking sheet with the butter. To make each toast, use a dinner knife or an icing spatula to spread a ¼-inch-thick layer of the shrimp paste on the top of a toast triangle. The paste should be as thick as the toast and cover all the corners. (If the toast browned on one side, spread the paste on that side, freeing up the other side to brown during baking.) As the toast triangles are topped, place them on the prepared baking sheet. Discard any leftover toasts or save for another use.
4, In a small bowl, stir together the egg yolk and water to make an egg wash. Brush the tops of the toasts with the egg wash. Bake the toasts for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the shrimp paste has turned pink-orange and the toast bottoms are golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Chef's Note

To freeze the unbaked assembled toasts, arrange them on an ungreased baking sheet (don’t let them touch one another) and freeze until solid. Transfer the toasts to an airtight container, separating the layers with parchment paper, and freeze for up to 1 month. To serve, thaw at room temperature on a buttered baking sheet for 1 hour. Brush with the egg wash and then bake as directed.

Vietnamese Baked Shrimp Toasts (Bánh Mì Tôm Quết Nướng) is adapted from the book "Into the Vietnamese Kitchen" by Andrea Nguyen. Copyright © 2006 by Andrea Nguyen.

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