Along with olive oil, butter, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper, this is the totality of what I used to make my throwdown entry (click to explode)
I eagerly accepted Fork in the Road’s Three-Dollar Throwdown challenge, but realized it would take a lot of effort to accomplish the task. The prohibition of using any flour, spices, or even–egad!–small quantities of wine not purchased within the $3 maximum expenditure meant that I had to forego my usual style of cooking, in which I desperately grab diverse ingredients from the spice rack and refrigerator, in an attempt to “save” my improvised recipes.
crouch and make the jump to see what I came up with
I knew that I had to find a market where you could buy incredibly small quantities of things, so I settled on Chelsea Market. I snagged a single overripe plum tomato ($0.29), the smallest shallot I could find ($0.18), and two button mushrooms ($0.07). I went to the fish market and, ignoring the glare of the cashier, purchased five of the smallest shrimp ($1.75), and found out that shrimp were more expensive than I thought. I went to the bakery and bought a tiny baguette, known as a baguettine ($0.50). Total expenditure: $2.79, 21 cents under the limit.
I first boiled the shrimp, shells on to extract maximum flavor, in a half cup of rapidly boiling water for one minute, removed them and reserved the liquid. I sliced and sauteed the mushrooms in butter till they were well-browned, and set them aside. In a non-stick skillet, I sauteed the chopped shallot in olive oil, then added the chopped plum tomato and cooked until it turned soft. Then I added the shrimp broth and cooked the sauce down to an almost-paste. Finally, I split the baguettine and assembled the sandwich. Here is the result: