Sesame Roasted Shrimp Sticks With Zippy Apricot Dipping Sauce

Chinese five-spice powder lends a complex and aromatic flavor profile; purchase the blend at an Asian market or from a spice merchant. And if you are heading to an Asian market, pick up some fresh shiso leaves to serve the shrimp on for a striking presentation.

Makes 16 to 20 pieces, serves 4 to 5 as a cocktail appetizer

Level of difficulty: moderate


For the Sauce
1 tbsp dry English mustard, or more if you want it extra-zippy
1 tbsp water
3/4 cup apricot jam
1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1 large or 2 small green onions, very thinly sliced
2 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar

For the Shrimp
1 egg white
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1 tbsp Asian (toasted) sesame oil
2 1/2 to 3 tbsp sesame seed (I like to use a mixture of 3 parts white and 1 part black seeds)
1 pound large shrimp (16 to 20)
16 to 20 four- to six-inch bamboo skewers, soaked in water for one hour


For the Sauce
Make the sauce first, up to 3 days ahead. In a small bowl, mix the mustard and water and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients until well mixed. If made ahead, refrigerate the sauce until shortly before serving. Serve the sauce warmed or at room temperature.

For the Shrimp
To prepare the shrimp, preheat an oven to 475°F. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white, salt, five-spice, and oil. Put the sesame seed in a small bowl. Lightly oil a baking sheet or spray with vegetable-oil cooking spray. Peel, devein, and remove tails from the shrimp. Drop the shrimp into the egg white mixture and toss to coat thoroughly.

Skewer a shrimp, curled into a circle, on the tip of a skewer, so that it looks like a shrimp “lollipop.” (Be sure to thread both head and tail ends of shrimp onto the skewer.) Sprinkle each side of shrimp with sesame seed. Repeat with the remaining shrimp. As each skewer is done, lay it on the baking sheet, spacing the skewers apart, not touching.

Roast the shrimp for about 5 minutes, or until just cooked through and pink.

Serve the shrimp skewers on a platter and the sauce in a small bowl with a tiny spoon for drizzling, or plate them with a small puddle of sauce.

Chef Kathy Casey is a food, beverage and restaurant concept consultant and food writer based in Seattle, Washington, USA. She owns Kathy Casey Food Studios®, a consulting and special events venue, and co-owns with husband John Casey her café and specialty food concept, Dish D'Lish®. This recipe is from her latest book, Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table, Chronicle Books, San Francisco. Copyright ©2006 by Kathy Casey.

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