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Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp with Apricot Marmalade

Sep 26, 2013 02:28PM ● By Cate Reynolds
By Kimberly Cooper // Photo by Tony Lewis, Jr.

Red Red Wine Bar
189B Main Street, Annapolis
410-990-1144
redredwinebar.com

If there is one thing Annapolis isn’t lacking, it’s great restaurants. However, when Lisa and Brian Bolter saw an opportunity on Main Street, they created Red Red Wine Bar, a unique casual-yet-upscale dining establishment. Lovers of great food and novice wine drinkers need not be intimidated. The Bolters welcome all with open arms and full glasses. Lisa, co-owner of the restaurant, shares with us their philosophy and a recipe for Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp with Apricot Marmalade.

Tell us a little bit about Red Red Wine Bar. How did it come to be?

Red Red Wine Bar is redefining the “wine bar” category. With an 18th century Victorian/rock star decor, an understanding of current culture and one of the largest bythe- glass lists in the country, Red Red Wine Bar tears down that wall of intimidation in the wine world. It’s a place to explore wine, food, and a full bar from the comfort of an oversized chair. It’s just juice. Then again, a glass can change your world, too.

How did you start your restaurant career?

Brian and I saw a void in the “wine bar” genre in general and in the casual-yet-upscale Annapolis dining scene in particular. While we both worked extensively in restaurants in our youth, we put our media backgrounds to good use in the restaurant industry. With a clear vision and expert resources, we used our passion and ability to be a quick study to make our restaurant dream come true. Two years and two “Best Wine Bar” awards later, we’re honored to be so well received in the community we call home.

What do you consider more important: organic or local?

Local! We have so many local resources here in Maryland, it’s hard not to go local. It’s also important to support our local farms and watermen and keep those dollars in our local
economy.

What would you consider to be Red Red Wine Bar’s signature dish?

That’s a tough one. I created the menu so that there would be something for everyone by offering a nice variety, from big salads to crab cakes and quinoa. I can tell you the Baja Chicken Salad with our house-made Cilantro Lime Dressing is our best seller, though.

How often do you change the menu at the restaurant?

I always modify it a bit seasonally. I don’t like to make huge menu changes at once.

Where do you find inspiration for your dishes?

I find inspiration in the ingredients. I love to cook with fresh herbs.

What is your absolute favorite ingredient to use?

Fresh Basil adds such a nice flavor to a dish. I like spicy foods and basil pairs very well with spice.

Is there one particular tool you can't live without when cooking?

I am a “clean as you go” kind of cook. I can’t have a mess around me. So, I can’t live without a clean towel to clean my work area. I can do pretty much everything else with a nice sharp knife.

How did this dish originate?

I was planning to replace the Shrimp Creole on our menu with another shrimp dish. I like to combine interesting flavors and bacon adds a nice distinct flavor, so I knew I wanted to incorporate it. I didn’t want a typical stuffed shrimp so I played around with a few other stuffings until I settled on this one. The salty bacon goes really well with the sweetness in the jam.

What drink pairs best?

Our 2012 Laya Garnacha. This wine has its own meaty notes that pick up the bacon flavor without overpowering. We actually discovered this wine six months before all of the wine critics; it has since been 90-point rated.

What is the most important step when cooking it?

It’s not a complicated recipe but I have found following the recipe exactly is the most important thing you can do. I’ll admit, I’m not great at following recipes but I have learned the importance the hard way.

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Recipe:
Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp with Apricot Marmalade
Serves 4

Apricot Jam
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp. ginger
1 lb. dried apricots
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup tawny port
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup water

Combine onion, garlic, ginger, and apricots in food processor, mix well. Take processed ingredients and combine with all other ingredients, except cilantro and water. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add cilantro and water. Mix with conversion blender until you reach a chunky jam consistency.

Shrimp and Bacon
16 size 13/15 shrimp or larger
16 slices par-cooked applewood smoked bacon
2 1/2 dozen basil leaves
3 Tbsp. fresh grated parmesan
10 garlic cloves

Put basil, parmesan, and garlic in a mixer, blend well. Peel, devein, and butterfly shrimp (keep tails on if you like). Stuff shrimp with 1 tablespoon of stuffing, then wrap with one slice of bacon hold together with a toothpick. Heat oven to 425 degrees; cook for eight minutes. Remove toothpick and place four shrimp on each plate with one tablespoon of jam for each shrimp.