Yuca Stuffed Crispy Shrimp with Norman's "Mo J." Scotch Bonnet Tartar Salsa

Recipe courtesy of Chef Norman Van Aken
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 50 min
Prep: 1 hr 30 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 20 min
YIELD: 4 servings


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pickled Scotch Bonnets, recipe follows
  • 3 tablespoons sweet butter pickles, diced small
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, peeled and diced small
  • 1 hard cooked egg yolk, yolk sieved, white chopped small
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup cooked and mashed yuca
  • 1 Scotch Bonnet, stem and seeds discarded, minced
  • 2 to 3 cloves or peeled garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly toasted cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 12 very large, fresh shrimp (16 to 20 count)
  • 1 cup seasoned flour
  • 1 egg plus 3 tablespoons water, beaten together to make an egg wash
  • 2 cups panko, Japanese bread crumbs
  • Peanut oil, for frying
  • Scotch Bonnet Tartar Salsa, recipe follows
  • Slaw, recipe follows
  • Norman's "Mo. J", recipe follows
    • SLAW:
      • 1 1/2 cups fresh hearts of palm, peeled and very thinly sliced
      • 1/4 cup jicama, peeled and julienned
      • 1/4 red bell pepper, stem and seeds discarded, julienned
      • 1/4 yellow bell pepper, stem and seeds discarded, julienned
      • 1 Scotch Bonnet chile, stem and seeds discarded, minced
      • 1/2 small red onion, peeled and julienned
      • 3 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
      • 1/2 cup virgin olive oil
      • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
      • 1 teaspoon, freshly toasted and ground coriander
      • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
      • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
      • Kosher salt, to taste
        recipe tools


        Mix the hearts of palm, jicama, bell peppers, chile, onion, and scallion together in a large bowl and set aside. In another bowl mix the olive oil, orange juice, coriander, sugar, black pepper, and salt together. Pour over the slaw and mix well.

        Norman's "Mo. J.": 6 cloves raw, peeled and minced garlic 1 to 2 Scotch Bonnet chilies, stem and seeds discarded, minced 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 2 teaspoons, whole and freshly toasted cumin seeds 1 cup pure olive oil 1/3 cup sour orange juice 2 teaspoons Spanish sherry vinegar Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

        Mash the raw garlic, chiles, salt and cumin together in a mortar with the pestle until fairly smooth. Scrape this into a bowl and set aside a moment. Now heat the olive oil until fairly hot and pour it over the garlic/chile mixture and allow to stand 10 minutes. Now whisk in the sour orange juice and the vinegar. Season with the salt and pepper, to taste and set aside until ready to use.

        Pickled Scotch Bonnets: 8 ounces whole Scotch Bonnet chiles, stem on and seeds intact 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 1 tablespoon mustard seeds 1 tablespoon dill seeds 6 small bay leaves 1 cup apple cider vinegar 1 cup champagne vinegar 1 cup water

        Make a small, thin slit in each Scotch Bonnet to aid the pickling process. Place the chiles and garlic in a bowl and set aside.

        Place the remaining ingredients in a non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Pour the boiling mixture over the chiles and garlic, and weigh them down with a plate so they are completely submerged. Let cool. Transfer the chiles and the liquid to an airtight jar or container and keep refrigerated for up to a month.

        Combine the mashed yuca with the Scotch Bonnet, garlic, salt and pepper and set aside.

        Leave the tail on the shrimp, peel and de-vein. Butterfly cut the shrimp. Take about 3/4 of a tablespoon of the yuca mash per shrimp and stuff the cavity of the butterfly cut, packing it firmly into place. Repeat with the remaining shrimp.

        Dust the stuffed shrimp first in the flour, then the egg wash, and then the panko. Repeat with remaining shrimp. Set them all aside on a plate.

        Heat a large heavy skillet with peanut oil until very hot (350 degrees). When the oil is hot lay the shrimp in it and cook until golden and cooked through. Remove them to a plate with an absorbent towel.

        Spoon a small dollop of the Scotch Bonnet Tartar Salsa to go under each shrimp on the plates. Lift some of the prepared Slaw onto the center of the plates. Spoon or ladle some of the "Mo. J." directly onto each shrimp.

        Put the egg yolks in an electric blender and beat until pale. Whisk in the vinegar and the pickling juice. Now add the olive and canola oil very slowly until it is all incorporated.

        Remove the mixture to a bowl and add the pickled bonnets, sweet butter pickles and red onion. Stir in the hard cooked egg. Season to taste. Reserve covered and refrigerated until desired.


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