Obviously wrapping things in bacon to grill is one of the great pleasures in life. For this first course in the McWilliams wine dinner, we took one of Peter Howard's recipes for grilled prosciutto wrapped shrimp and twisted it just a little.
The shrimp was poached in evoo with preserved lemon which is one of our favorite techniques now. It has become difficult to write a shrimp dish without wanting to subject it to this method. This time, we left the shrimp a little underdone and wrapped them with thinly sliced serrano ham on a skewer. That way, we were able to finish them on the grill and shrink up the ham and crisp it a little. It also causes the serrano to become more salty. This is because heating a cured meat breaks the salt molecules free from their strong ionic bonds with the elements of the ham... thus allowing the tongue to perceive them with much greater intensity. This scientific detail was taught to me by an authority (Jorge Ruiz) on the subject in this previous post in the comment section. (He will also be lecturing at this years EuroChem event with Herve This).
The green sauce is an arugula aioli that is also a recipe of Peter Howard's. The sharp bite of the arugula in the creamy mayo is a great complement.
The other exciting element on the plate is the crenshaw melon confit. This has become on of our oldest tried and true applications of the cryovac machine. The melon is peeled and vacuum sealed under high pressure in a simple syrup. It is then left to rest overnight, and the sugars transform the texture of the melon into something extraordinary. Chef K took the whole pieces of melon confit and basically shaved them on a meat slicer. It is completely transparent, and resembles pickled ginger. Obviously, it goes well with serrano.