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Shrimp Toast (Courtesy: Thai & Trinh Nguyen)
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Cooking In: Scrumptious Shrimp Toast, courtesy Ba Sa

During these crazy times, making a home-cooked meal can be cathartic. But if you're like me, you can find yourself in a rut, making the same things over and over again. That's why I enlisted the help of my chef friends from all over the Seattle area. I got each one to send me an easy-to-follow recipe folks can make at home using pantry staples or ingredients that are usually readily available at your local grocery store. It's a weekly series we're calling Cooking In. Interested in other recipes? We've also tried making John Sundstrom's delectable rhubarb crisp, the Woodmark Hotel's signature granola, Ethan Stowell's famous rigatoni, and Spark Pizza's incredible, yup, you guessed it, pizza.

The great thing about cooking, especially right now, is it's a chance to get outside your comfort zone and try some dishes or experiment with some flavors maybe you haven't before. For me, that's certainly the case with this Vietnamese dish, Shrimp Toast, courtesy of our friends from Ba Sa on Bainbridge Island.

Since opening last year, Ba Sa has drawn rave reviews for its modern Vietnamese dishes made, of course, with local ingredients. These shrimp toasts are a personal favorite of chef Thai Nguyen, who co-owns the restaurant with his sister, Trinh. The recipe can be adapted based on what's in your pantry. In fact, you don't even have to use shrimp. Bacon, Ham or another protein would also work well as the base for this spread.

If you'd rather leave the cooking to the professionals, Ba Sa offers takeout via phone or online order Monday-Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. If you're able, you could also consider buying a gift card to the restaurant so you can enjoy a delicious meal during a future trip to Bainbridge Island.

Shrimp Toast with Confit Scallion

Ingredients:

  • Bread
  • 1 lb shrimp
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 shallot
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 4 oz vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Mayonnaise

Instructions:

  1. Combine shrimp, fish sauce, sugar, garlic, shallot, and black pepper into the food processor and process until blended but slightly chunky
  2. Cut bread into 1/2 inch thick slices. Spread bread slices with a thin coat of mayonnaise and then top with shrimp mixture.
  3. Heat oven to 350 degree
  4. Put bread slices on cookie sheet and toast in the oven for 20 minutes
  5. Heat vegetable oil and butter in a pan until hot, add scallions and turn off the heat
  6. Garnish the toast with confit scallion and serves with Nuoc Cham (recipe follows) and lettuce wrap

Nuoc Cham/Dipping sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz fish sauce
  • 2 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 lime
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 6 oz water
  • Thai Chili/Sambal

Instructions:

  1. Add fish sauce, sugar, salt and lime juice in a bowl
  2. Whisk until all ingredients dissolve
  3. Add minced garlic, water and chili to your liking
  4. Taste and adjust to your preference

Optional Lettuce Wrap

  • Lettuce
  • Herbs
  • Pickled Daikon and Carrots
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