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Poor Man’s Surf-n-Turf

Plated meal at $3.63 per plate.

Dinner tonight was a quick throw together.  Spicy shrimp and potato pancakes with petite filet and salad of seasonal greens and tomatoes.  All the ingredients were in the house and obtained from local farmer’s markets or, in the case of the filet, from our local butcher.

The shrimp pancakes were the centerpiece.  Boil some potatoes; I used redskins, but whatever you have around is fine.  I keep skins on because I’m lazy.  When cooked, hand mash coarsely.  Allow to cool a bit.  While cooling, mix up a couple eggs, some garlic (3 cloves, smashed), a couple tablespoons Worcestershire sause, some crushed mustard seed or dry mustard (1 tsp), a minced pepper (I used a small red bell pepper) and whatever chopped herbs you have around (I used a few TBSP of basil and parsley).  Then chop up some raw shrimp into a fairly fine dice, maybe 1 lb cleaned total.  Mix the potatoes, egg mixture and shrimp together.  Add a couple cups of Panko and continue to mix well.  I also added some liberal dashes of Tabasco habenero sauce and  a couple TBSP of Zatarain’s cajun seasoning, both of which are completely optional.  Form into small patties and saute in a skillet with a little oil till nicely brown both sides.

The salad was chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, salt pepper, olive oil and wine vingar.  Mix up an hour ahead and allow to marinate.  Serve over bed of seasonal greens.  I added a slice of fresh mozzarella from our favorite local cheese company.

The filet was actually a small, free sample from The Meat House on Kildare Farm Rd in Cary, but perfect size for three light meat eaters.  It was marinated ahead in something delicious of their making.  I grilled it medium-rare, rested a few minutes and sliced.  Each portion was a couple ounces.

Not pictured is a simple, mayonnaise-based sauce for the potato pancakes: mince a few cornichons, mix into 3 or 4 TBSP mayonnaise. Add a couple tsp lemon juice, and a couple tsp of soy sauce.  Stir well, put a small dollop on each potato pancake.

The shrimp-potato cakes cost about $9, mostly shrimp.  It made 4 servings, plus leftovers for 4 more, for $1.13 per serving.  If you omitted the shrimp, it would go to about $0.25 per serving.  The salad was about $4 in ingredients, not including cheese, and was enough for 4, so $1 per serving.  The cheese added $0.50 each, so salad as shown was $1.50 per serving.  The filet was free, but to be fair, if you had to buy it, was about $4 worth of filet tips and was enough for 4 servings, so $1 each.  All in, this meal, as shown, was about $3.63 per serving.  Two simple omissions (shrimp and cheese) bring it down to $2.25 each serving.  Meatless, which we do several nights a week, this meal is $1.25 per person.

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