This throwback Chinese appetizer is a perennial crowd pleaser. Make the shrimp paste in the morning so all you have to do is quickly pan-fry the bread and broil before serving.
2 heaped teaspoons finely chopped ginger
leaves from 4 large cilantro sprigs, roughly chopped
1 scallion, thinly sliced
½ pound cleaned shrimp, tails removed
2 teaspoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon sriracha
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 large egg white
5 slices white bread
¼ cup sesame seeds
unsalted butter, as needed (about 3 tablespoons)
hot sauce to serve, optional
1. Preheat the broiler.
2. Combine ginger, cilantro, and scallion in food processor and blend for 5 seconds. Add shrimp and pulse 10 times for one second each time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after five pulses. Add soy sauce, sriracha, sesame oil, and egg white and blend just to combine.
3. Use a knife or spatula to spread the shrimp mixture evenly over the five pieces of white bread. Sprinkle over sesame seeds and use your hands to gently press them into the shrimp paste.
4. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add about ½ tablespoon butter, and fry the shrimp toast (bread side down, shrimp side up) until lightly browned. Remove to a cooling rack set over a baking sheet and continue frying the rest of the bread, adding butter to the pan as needed.
5. When all five pieces are pan-fried, place baking sheet in the oven and broil for about three minutes, or until shrimp mixture is lightly golden and cooked through.
6. Remove the toasts, cut off the crust, and cut each slice into four triangular pieces.
7. Serve warm with hot sauce on the side, if desired.