Copy Cat

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Growing up, my BFF was a couple of years older than me and those extra years guaranteed that she was the first to advance to more grown-up things. When she showed up astride a shiny red 10-speed and out rode me and my little blue bicycle, I was envious. I wanted one of my own and a few weeks later when I peddled up on my bright yellow Schwinn, she called me a copycat and was less than flattered. I was hurt ~ couldn't she see that I wanted to be just like her? Of course, I was as equally unimpressed a few years later when I caught her kissing my date at a party.

In the world of recipes, alot of time, energy and websites have been dedicated to copying and recreating food enjoyed from favorites restaurants. If you have a hankering for bread sticks from the Olive Garden or Bonefish Grill's Bang Bang Shrimp, check out this copycat recipe source.

But if you're like me and crave the Lobster Martini from Mickey and Mooch and the Gambas al Ajillo (shrimp sauteed in garlic and olive oil) from Miro Spanish Grille then look no further than right here, my friends! These aren't exact replicas (dare I say they may even be better than the real thing?), but they're close enough that I think both restaurants would be flattered to know that I'm reminded of good times long ago spent noshing there with someone special.

Call me a copy cat if you wish ~ I've been called much worse!

Seafood Martini
Serves 4
inspired by Bon Appetit, August 2007

Gazpacho Sauce
8 ounce bottle clam juice
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup can crushed tomatoes with added puree
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
hot sauce, to taste
1 garlic clove, pressed

1 cup 1/4" cubes seeded plum tomatoes (about 3 large)
1 cup 1/3" cubes peeled pitted avocado
1 cup 1/4" diced seeded cucumber
1-1/2 cups cooked lump crabmeat (5 to 6 oz), cut into 1/2" cubes
16 cooked peeled deveined medium shrimp
1-1/2 cups shelled cooked lobster meat (5 to 6 oz), cut into 1/2" cubes
Lime wedges
Fresh cilantro sprigs

For gazpacho sauce: Combine all ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours or overnight.

For seafood: Divide tomatoes, avocado, and cucumber among 4 large martini glasses or deep goblets. Top with crab, dividing equally. Top with about 1/4 cup gazpacho sauce. Divide shrimp, then lobster among glasses. Divide remaining sauce over top. Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro sprigs.

Gambas al Ajillo (Shrimp in Garlic)

1 lb. shrimp, 25 count per lb. or larger, if you wish
4 large cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 ounces Cognac or dry sherry
1/4 cup olive oil
3 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1 lemon for juice
French bread baguette

Peel shrimp. Heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for about a minute or two or until they begin to brown. Do NOT burn the garlic or you'll have to start over!

Raise heat to high and add shrimp, lemon juice, sherry (or Cognac) and paprika. Stir briskly about 3 minutes or until the shrimp turn pink and curl.

Remove from heat and transfer to a warm platter and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.

Serve with French baguette that has been warmed to sop up the garlic oil.



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