The Recipe, The Legend: Bombay Bread Bar's Black Pepper Shrimp

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CROWD PLEASER Built to share and also quick to prepare, this recipe works equally well for a dinner party or an easy weeknight supper.

CROWD PLEASER Built to share and also quick to prepare, this recipe works equally well for a dinner party or an easy weeknight supper.


Photo:

David Malosh for The Wall Street Journal, Food Styling by Barrett Washburne, Prop Styling by Ayesha Patel

The Chef: Floyd Cardoz

The Recipe, The Legend: Bombay Bread Bar’s Black Pepper Shrimp



Illustration:

MATTHEW COOK

His Restaurants: The Bombay Bread Bar in New York City; the Bombay Canteen and O Pedro, both in Mumbai, India

What He’s Known For: Cooking regional-Indian food with creativity and finesse for over three decades. Winning the third season of ‘Top Chef Masters.’

CERTAIN DISHES stick with you. At Tabla,

Floyd Cardoz

redefined Indian cooking for New Yorkers with his singular style—cosmopolitan, creative, refined. Downstairs from Tabla, at the more casual Bread Bar, he sent out homey and street-food-inspired plates made to share, in a dimly lit space alive with happy chatter and aromas of bread and spice. Since the restaurants closed at the end of 2010, diners have pined for a few particularly vibrant, sexy, satisfying menu items. This black pepper shrimp, for one.

The dish was greeted like an old friend when it appeared on the menu at Bombay Bread Bar, the update on the old spot that Mr. Cardoz opened earlier this year in SoHo. Spiced with coriander as well as black pepper, the flavorful shrimp are also remarkably easy to prepare at home. Having perfected the recipe over a couple of decades, Mr. Cardoz offered a few tips. “Don’t salt the shrimp until right before cooking, because salt pulls out moisture,” he said. You want your pan or grill hot but not smoking. “If it’s too hot, the shrimp will seize up and toughen. And if it’s not hot enough, your seasonings will fall off,” he said. Cooking the shrimp in their shells further ensures a tender, juicy result.

Served with a tomato-cucumber salad and a yogurt-lime sauce for dipping, the peel-and-eat shrimp make a convivial meal. “They’re good for sharing,” Mr. Cardoz said—though once you’ve tried one, you may not want to.

Black Pepper Shrimp With Cucumber-Tomato Salad

Total Time 25 minutes Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil
  • 24 extra-large shrimp (about 2 pounds), preferably with heads, tails and shells
  • 2 cups thinly sliced cucumbers
  • 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes or diced heirloom tomatoes
  • ¼ cup sliced sweet onion, such as Vidalia
  • ½ cup torn mint leaves
  • Zest and juice of 1½ limes
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ cup whole-milk yogurt

1. Use a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to grind peppercorns and coriander, separately, to a medium-fine powder. In a large bowl, stir together pepper and coriander with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Pat shrimp dry. Add shrimp to bowl and toss with seasonings until well coated. Cover bowl and refrigerate at least 20 minutes. (Shrimp can marinate up to 24 hours.)

2. In a large bowl, toss together cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and mint. Season salad with ⅓ of the lime zest and juice, 2 tablespoons oil, sugar and salt to taste.

3. In a small bowl, stir together yogurt and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with lime juice, lime zest and salt to taste.

4. Heat a grill to medium-high or set a large cast-iron pan on stove over medium-high heat. Brush pan or grill with remaining oil. Season shrimp with a pinch of salt. When cooking surface is hot but not smoking, cook shrimp until opaque and curled into a “C,” 2-3 minutes per side. Remove shrimp from heat and season with lime juice. Serve with tomato salad and yogurt sauce on the side.