Wasabi mame, sesame peanuts, kokeshi rice crackers… if you thought that was all I brought back from Asakusa, guess again. Add to the list shrimp crackers. I pulled out my kanji book and these beauties are called 千枚焼 えび, which means a thousand sheets of grilled shrimp. The package includes 9, ridiculously delicious and crunchy, shrimp crackers, each individually wrapped.
I just adore Japanese packaging. So simple and yet so complex. The lettering on these crackers is handwritten, which took me a while to decipher in order to understand the strokes for translation. But I love the charm that the scribbly font brings to the otherwise very minimalistic and crisp package.
I wish we had bought more than one pack. One cracker went for a taste test. I asked the house chef if he could whip up a topping that would pair nicely with the crackers. That left just 8 for a happy hour snack.
And here is the result. Shrimp crackers topped with a goat cheese and herb spread and adorned with a miniature stir-fried shrimp. We enjoyed them with an ice cold glass of gin and tonic. A refreshing pairing for what was a scorching summer afternoon.
Goat Cheese Spread Recipe
While my better half who is blessed with mad cooking skills whipped this up, it is so easy even I could do it.
- Small package of goat cheese
- A little milk
- A few pieces of fresh herbs
- A small amount of chopped cucumber
- A small amount of chopped shrimp
- Crushed garlic, salt and pepper to taste
You start by leaving the goat cheese out on the counter for a few minutes. Just enough time for it to soften slightly. Then slowly add a tiny bit of milk and mix with a fork. Keep adding a little splash of milk until the cream cheese is a creamy consistency and easily spreadable.
Next mix in the finely chopped herbs, the cucumber bits and the chopped shrimp. We had an ironically shrimp shaped cucumber that came from the garden. The cucumber adds a little crunch and different texture to the mix. For herbs, we had fresh basil, mint, sage and parsley that went into the mix. There is nothing like fresh herbs from the garden.
As for the shrimp, chef always has a couple of varieties in the freezer. He broiled and peeled the ones that were added to the spread and stir-fried the mini ones that were used as the garnish. No need to mix it up like he did. Costco almost always has a shrimp cocktail if you want a short cut. Pick one up and just chop a few pieces into small bits.
The cucumber might give off some extra moisture. If the spread gets too runny pop it back in the fridge for an hour or so and it should be fine.
You can make the spread a few days ahead of time if you want. You might just need to add a tiny more milk before serving if it hardens too much between the time you make it and when you are ready to enjoy your horderves.
So there you have it. A triple shrimp delicacy all inspired by a pack of crackers from our vacation in Tokyo.