Guess who’s coming to dinner? …Steve Burns! No, not the fabled dead host of Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues (why did everyone think that he died anyway?) This Steve is a good friend and co-worker of ours, and a writer. Steve currently works for Table 95 as a social media coordinator and a project director for APIARY Magazine. APIARY is an awesome non-profit literary publication run by volunteers. These humans are doing it because they love it, very similar as to why we are doing this blog. APIARY features a lot of good poetry and continuous updates on where to find readings and other literary showcases throughout the Philadelphia region. It’s definitely worth checking out.
Steve recently came to dinner to interview us for City Tap House‘s blog, Tapped In. His goal was to find out how working at City Tap has changed our view of beer and how it continues to influence us. You can check out our interview here.
City Tap House was my first ever kitchen job and it highly influenced the way that I cook. It came at an interesting time in my life; I had just started my culinary journey at The Restaurant School of Walnut Hill and was learning how to manipulate food and flavors. I started out with a very basic knowledge and my food reflected that, but City Tap House’s chef at the time saw prospect in me and I quickly moved through the ranks from garmo (salad/cold food prep) to saute. I stayed at saute for the better part of a year. This station requires a lot of speed and technique which was foreign to me at the time, but you either sink or swim, so I learned a lot very quickly. One of my favorite things I learned at this time was imparting flavors with beer.
City Tap House is a craft beer gastropub with somewhere around 60 plus rotating taps, so hard not to fall in love with the multitude of what’s out there. I knew the differences between styles to some extent, like the difference between a stout and an ale, but some things were new to me like a berlinerwiesse or a wild ale. Even their uses can vary in terms of cooking. We would use a stout in the syrup for the chicken and waffles, a farmhouse for the farro risotto, and a Belgium beer for the mussels. We would do special dinners that would focus on a specific brewery, utilizing the broad spectrum of styles that they offer. It was interesting to see how my chefs would pair each beer as you would with wine. It’s magical to see how the beers themselves brought something unique to the table. I soon learned that anywhere a liquid was introduced into a recipe, you could substitute it with a frothy brew — but you have to decide which one to use.
Nicole’s currently a server at City Tap House and has been for about a year and a half now. She knew a little about the different styles of beer when she first started; but now she can tell you where they are from and their flavor profiles. She really likes the sour style of beers which has been growing in popularity over the past years. It’s amazing to see how fast the craft beer scene has grown since we both have worked there and the variety is wonderful. We still love going there and trying out what’s new.
With the craft beer scene rapidly expanding, picking a beer can be an arduous task. That leads us to the selection process, and just like any ingredient, you should use the ones that make the most sense. So we came up with a few ideas that we wanted to make for our special lunch with Steve. We were thinking of some sort of taco because the seasons were just starting to transition to from winter to spring and the weather was getting nicer and nicer. Tacos are perfect outdoor food, and beer and tacos are a match made in heaven. We like to support our local breweries so we had a few to choose from. We shopped around and we found this awesome First Cut Mango IPA from Troegs Brewing Company from Hershey, PA. This is interesting because they use the first shoots of the hops to brew this tasty beer. Nicole isn’t a large fan of the IPA style and tends to lean towards the sour category, but the mango is what caught our eye. This would be perfect for a shrimp taco of sorts.
Of course we had many options already figured out depending upon the selection of beer. All we had to do is pick one and refine our idea to fit the beer. Here we wanted a spicy shrimp taco with some sort of slaw. So we marinated the shrimp with the beer to enhance and deepen the flavor of the shrimp. It adds a slightly earthy flavor, even with the quick marinade time. A mango pineapple slaw was created to bring out the natural mango flavors already present in the beer. We added a avocado mayo to add a little bit of fat to round out the dish. Heavy spices, natural sweetness from the shrimp with a touch of acidity from the fruit and an earthiness from the beer lead to a perfect taco. We devoured them as we sipped on our beers and answered a few questions from Steve.
Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Aioli and Pineapple SalsaPrint This
- 8 oz Shrimp
- 1/3 Cup Beer (We used Troegs First Cut Mango IPA)
- 3 TBS Oil
- 1/2 tsp Coriander
- 1/4 tsp Paprika
- 1/4 tsp Chili Powder
- 1/4 tsp Cumin
- 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 1 Mango, Small Diced (About 1 Cup)
- 1 Cup Pineapple, Small Diced
- 1/2 Red Onion, Small Diced
- 1 Cup Thinly Shredded Red Cabbage
- 2 Tbs Finely Diced Serrano or Jalepeno
- 1/4 Cup Lime Juice
- 1 TBS Oil
- 1/2 Cup Chopped Cilantro
- 1/2 Avocado
- 1/4 Cup Mayo
- Juice and Zest of 1 Lime
- 1 Small Clove Garlic, Zested
- Pinch Salt
- Splash Olive oil
- Flour Tortillas
- Lime Wedges
Add the shrimp, beer, 3 tablespoons oil, spices, and garlic to a bowl. Allow to marinate for at least an hour.
While the shrimp are marinating, combine mango, pineapple, onion, peppers, cabbage, lime juice, oil, and cilantro together to make the salsa.
Next, in a small bowl, add mashed avocado, mayo, lime juice & zest, garlic, salt and olive oil and mix until smooth.
Heat up a pan to medium heat, and dump the contents of the shrimp bowl into the pan, juices and all. Cook until the shrimp are almost done, add a splash more of beer and cook until they are just done.
To assemble, spread some avocado aioli onto a flour tortilla, add as many shrimp as you like, top with the pineapple salsa and garnish with cilantro and lime. Enjoy!
We had never been interviewed before and it was quite an honor to talk to Steve about where started and the journey of this blog. We are amateurs in this field of blogging and I’ve felt we’ve come so far. It’s been an awesome journey so far and we look forward to whats to come. I hope you learned a little bit about cooking with beer. Even if you don’t cook with it, remember that there is a lot out there and to always try something new.
As always cheers,