Chef's Kitchen: Canvas Restaurant's Shrimp Mofongo & Yucca Fries

By Allison Walker Torres, Entertainment Reporter/Anchor
Last Updated: Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 6:55 AM EDT

Chef Brian Thoman is reinventing a Puerto Rican necessity. His shrimp mofongo — featured at Canvas Restaurant & Market — is enhanced and identified by its sauce.

"So the sauce is a very citrus-forward saffron broth," Thoman told us during our recent visit to the lakeside restaurant. "Saffron is essentially the thistle of a flower — the little 'hairy' things coming out of the flower."

The garlic-forward dish incorporates a concoction of lemon juice, orange juice and white wine.

The chef's plantain fritter is truly special in that he shapes it with a mortar and pestle. The divot in the center allows the fritter to soak up all the juicy goodness from the sauce.

To accompany the shrimp mofongo, Thoman demoed his yucca fries. He feels that yucca, naturally, needs a lot of help, so he tosses the fried rods in honey drizzlings.

Let's cook!

SHRIMP MOFONGO

Ingredients:

• Plantain fritter, 1 each (recipe below)
• Canola oil, .5 oz
• Shrimp, 10 each, tail on
• Salt, pinch
• Pepper, pink
• Oven roasted tomatoes, 4 each
• Saffron broth, 4 oz
• Butter, .5 oz
• Micro cilantro, 1 tbl
• Grilled lime half, 1 each

Recipe:

1. Put plantain fritter in fryer at 350 degrees
2. Add canola oil to saute pan
3. Add shrimp to sizzle plate, season shrimp with salt and pepper, massaging seasoning into shrimp before adding to saute pan; sear on each side
4. Add tomatoes, saffron broth and butter to saute pan and melt butter into broth while shrimp finishes cooking
5. Place cooked plantain fritter in center of plate, top with shrimp and tomatoes
6. Garnish plate with cilantro and lime and enjoy

PLANTAIN FRITTER

Ingredients:

• Green plantains, 4 ea
• Herb oil, 4 tbl
• Garlic cloves, 4 ea
• Cilantro, 8 tbl
• Chicken stock, 1 cup
• Kosher salt, 2 tsp
• Black pepper, 1 tsp

Recipe:

1. Peel and cut green plantains into ¾ in slices, then cook in 350 degree fryer for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally
2. Add herb oil to robot coupe
3. Chop garlic cloves finely and add to robot coupe
4. Chop cilantro finely and add to robot coupe, then adding cooked plantains and pulse till rough chopped and everything is incorporated
5. Slowly drizzle chicken stock into robot coupe while running, then turn off
6. Add kosher salt and black pepper to robot coupe, pulse 5 times to incorporate seasoning then remove from robot coupe and form into 4 oz balls
7. Using a pan, spray can make an indentation into each fritter and make the fritter come up the side by at least .5 of an inch

SAFFRON BROTH

Ingredients:

• Canola oil, 4 oz
• Shallots, 8 ea
• Garlic, 2 oz
• White wine, 4 cups
• Orange juice, 2 cups
• Lemon juice, 1 cup
• Chicken stock, 2 gal
• Saffron thread, 2 tsp
• Salt, 2 tbl
• Corn starch, 1 cup
• Water, 1 cup

• Saffron thread, 2 tsp
• Salt, 2 tbl
• Corn starch, 1 cup
• Water, 1 cup

Recipe:

1. Heat canola oil over medium heat
2. Chop shallots finely
3. Chop garlic finely, add shallots and garlic to oil and sauté to translucent
4. Add white wine, orange juice and lemon juice to pan, reduce wine and citrus until nearly dry
5. Add chicken stock to pan and bring to a boil
6. Add saffron thread and salt to pan
7. Add corn starch and water to mixing bowl, using fingers to combine cornstarch and water together well
8. While whisking sauce, slowly pour in cornstarch mixture and bring back to a boil and boil hard for 2 minutes
9. Cool to below 40 degrees then transfer to appropriate container

OVEN ROASTED TOMATOES

Ingredients:

• Roma tomatoes, 5 each
• Olive oil, 2 tbl
• Balsamic vinegar, 2 tbl
• Kosher salt, 2 tsp
• Black pepper, ¾ tsp

Recipe:

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees on a low fan
2. Core tomatoes and then cut in quarters, add to mixing bowl
3. Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar and kosher salt to mixing bowl
4. Add black pepper to mixing bowl, toss all ingredients to combine and neatly arrange tomatoes on wire rack placed on sheet tray
5. Cook in oven for 45 minutes
6. Place in walk-in to cool below 40 degrees
7. Transfer to appropriate container being sure to keep tomatoes organized and layered between parchment

TOMATILLO AIOLI

Ingredients:

• Mayonnaise, 8 cups
• Tomatillo salsa, 4 cups
• Lime juice, 4 each
• Honey, 4 tbl
• Jalapeno, diced with seeds, 4 each
• Kosher salt, 3 tbl
• Black pepper, 2 tbl

Recipe:

1. Add all ingredients to mixing bowl
2. Using a whisk, combine all ingredients well

YUCCA FRIES

Ingredients:

• Yucca, 10 each

Recipe:

1. Cut end off yucca and peel to below purple coating
2. Cut yucca into 4 inch sections and place in a pot of water, cover
3. Bring pot to a boil and cook yucca until it splits in half and is easily pierced with a knife
4. Strain through a colander then transfer to a sheet tray to cool below 40 degrees
5. Once cooled, cut into quarters then on a slant cut, removing fibrous center
6. Cut yucca into .5 inch fries (optional — drizzle with honey!)