As half of the design team behind Oscar de la Renta and Monse, Laura Kim is used to creating clothing for some of the world's most stylish women. But industry insiders also know she's quite the chef. The Monse press preview—a favored appointment among fashion editors during which we get a look at the season's new designs—is one of the few that features a feast cooked by the very person who also designed and styled the clothes that hang on the surrounding racks. “Cooking for me is a creative outlet,” she says. “I love making food that's fresh, nutritious, and tasty. It's really important for me to eat well and live healthy—as much as wearing a pretty outfit.”
Laura Kim was born to Korean parents and grew up feasting on Korean food throughout her childhood. “My dad taught me how to cook his favorite dish, Duk Gook, a rice cake soup with beef broth, when I was about nine years old." Though Kim’s mother was the true chef of the house, her father taught her how to cook because at the time her mother was enrolled in English school and it was the first time her father was left to prepare lunch for himself and his two daughters. "My dad taught me how to make this soup so that I could cook it on a daily basis and he would no longer be left to prepare lunchtime meals—it was rather genius," she says. "I made the same soup daily for us, so you could say I learned to become a perfectionist at what I was cooking."
Voilà: Laura’s noodle-wrapped shrimp
Seafood specifically is something that reminds Kim of her Korean upbringing, and she has fond memories of family gatherings around the table filled with food. “My mom’s family is from the seaside of Korea, so we always had a ton of seafood,” she says. “I particularly love fried shrimp, and remember eating it on special occasions.” And that’s how this fried shrimp recipe Kim created—that also, naturally, happens to be beautiful to look at—came about. “I love making creative dishes for my friends and family, something they can look at and eat with their eyes before it even hits their mouth,” she says. “Reading cookbooks and then turning the ingredients into my version of a recipe, that’s a hobby for me.”
Ilana Matte Dinner Plates, Set of 4
Japanese Kewpie Mayonnaise
Kim tells me it took her four or five tries before she mastered this fried shrimp dish but it was worth the wait. "It’s a feel-good meal I would normally make on special occasions, but right now each day is a day I’m enjoying,” she says. “I’m more of a homebody, and the idea of drumming up a meal and indulging makes me feel great.”
Laura Kim’s Noodle-Wrapped Shrimp
Two if it's the main course; four if it's an appetizer
For noodle-wrapped shrimp:
- 8 large prawns
- 2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1.5 oz. vermicelli noodles (if not available any thin long pasta will work)
- Vegetable oil (for deep frying the shrimp)
- Pepper to taste
- Parsley (or any greens on hand) for garnish
- 5 tbsp. Japanese mayo (if not available, use regular mayo)
- 3 tbsp. sriracha
- 2 tbsp. honey
Bring a small pot of water to a boil.
Take shells off prawns and devein the shrimp. Lay clean shrimp on a paper towel to absorb excess water. Season with fresh ground pepper and cayenne powder.
Add vermicelli noodles to boiling water for three minutes. Strain and rinse in cold water. Dry noodles flat on a paper towel.
Once cooled, take a few noodles and wrap strands around the shrimp. (Note: To make "pretty" fried shrimp, you have to let the noodle-wrapped shrimp dry for an hour before frying.)
When the noodle-wrapped shrimp has dried, place them in very hot vegetable oil. When they begin to turn brown (around two minutes), remove from oil and place on paper towels to remove excess grease.
For the sauce, combine mayo, sriracha, and honey. Stir until well combined.
Assemble on a plate, adding sauce on the side or on the bottom of the dish. Add parsley for garnish.
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