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Great Combinations

They're out there, those amazing, and sometimes odd, combinations of foods that are synergistic. I'm not talking about the 17-ingredient sauces that Escoffier touted. Rather, it's the simple two-part unions that are fascinating and mysterious. They can be as simple as a hot dog with mustard or as expensive as fois gras with fruit. Or what we had last night (which, obviously, is why I thought of the topic), shrimp and canellini beans. "What's that?" you say. Yes, plain old canellini beans and some sautéed shrimp, with a few San Marzano tomatoes chopped up and tossed in for color. Actually, I simmered the beans in olive oil, white wine and garlic, with a bit of salt and pepper. And we ate this concoction on top of sliced baguette rounds that we toasted just until crisp. So maybe it isn't a pure one-two punch, but it is a simple combination that works really well. The crunch of the toasted baguette was a nice counterpoint to the creaminess of the beans and the firm sweetness of the shrimp. I added a bit of red pepper flakes (the little woman's idea) for some zip, but that's it. No fancy preparations, techniques, or ingredients (hell, the shrimp were frozen!), and the whole thing took ten minutes to prepare. Okay, so the toast counts as a third ingredient (but that hot dog and mustard combo also has bread), so in reality, my point makes no sense.  Some stuff just goes together well. I guess that if I were a classically trained chef who actually understood cooking, I might be able to explain this concept just a little better than I have, but I think you get the idea.

2 Responses to “Great Combinations”

  1. chick peas and shrimp go nicely together. i make a side dish a la batali’s shrimp, ceci, and chile, which you can find at Otto.Hell, shrimp and corn go great too. perfectly in fact. maybe it’s a starch/texture thing working so well there.

  2. Chick peas? Details please!And corn is great too. I think of it as a summer dish though. I know that frozen corn is actually pretty good, but I love grilling shrimp and serving it with freshly grilled corn that I cut off the cob just before serving.

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