For some people, bacon makes everything better. Down in Texas, Chef David Holben of Culpeppers has taken this to heart and come up with a wonderful recipe for the summer season. Here for your enjoyment then: Smoked Bacon Wrapped Jumbo Shrimp & Twice Baked Potato with Lobster in a White Cheddar Sauce.

Smoked Bacon Wrapped Jumbo Shrimp & Twice Baked Potato with Lobster – White Cheddar Sauce

Appetizer: Serves 4

4 each Shrimp U7, (peeled and deveined with tail on)
4 Slices Applewood Smoked Bacon (cut in half)
1 tspn. Course Ground Pepper

Wrap the shrimp with one slice of bacon and secure with a tooth pick. Season with salt and coarse black pepper.

For the Shrimp Sauce
1/4 cup Olive Oil
2 each Interior Lobster Heads (split and cut into 6 pieces)
1 qt. Shrimp Shells
1/2 cup Shallots (cut in small dice)
1/4 cup Paprika
1/4 cup Tomato Paste
4 cups White Wine
1/4 cup Red Ruby Port
2 cups Water
1 qt Heavy Cream
TT Salt, Pepper, Cayenne and Brandy
3 tbls. Butter (unsalted)

1. Sear the lobster heads and shrimp shells in the olive oil in a hot stainless steel pan. Being careful not to brown the lobster heads, add the shallots and cook until they are tender. Then add the paprika being careful not to burn it or it will turn bitter. Add the tomato paste and cook slowly for about 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Deglaze with the wines and let reduce until almost dry. Add the water and cream, then cook slowly for 30 minutes. Purée in the blender and strain through a fine sieve.

3. Season with salt, pepper, brandy and cayenne to taste. Blend the sauce with 3 TBL of butter in the blender. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

For the Potatoes
2 each Idaho (60 count bakers)
2 tbls. Olive Oil
1 tbls. Kosher Salt
10 Garlic Cloves
1 tbls. Sugar
2 tbls. Butter
1/4 cup Sour Cream
2 tbls. Butter
TT Salt and Pepper

1. Place the garlic in a small sauté pan and barely cover with water. Add one tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of sugar. Cook slowly until the liquid is absorbed and the garlic is tender. If the garlic is not soft, add a little more water. Let the garlic begin to caramelize and deglaze with the wine, and remove from the stove.

2. Rub the potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately one hour until tender when squeezed. Let cool for one hour. Cut the potato in half crosswise. Cut a small amount off of each end so they will stand up. Scoop out the interior of the potato with a small spoon making sure not to pierce a hole in the bottom. Smash the potato pulp with the garlic, sour cream, butter, salt and pepper. Fill the potato shells with the purée 3/4 full. Set aside.

3. Grill the shrimp over a mesquite grill until the shrimp is cooked through and the bacon is crispy, about three to four minutes on each side.

For the Cheddar Sauce
1 1/2 cups Béchamel
4 oz. Sharp White English Cheddar Cheese
1 tspn. Worcestershire

1. Bring the béchamel to a boil and stir in the cheddar and worcestershire.

2. Place the stuffed potatoes in the oven until hot. On a warm plate place the potato in the center. Ladle about 2 oz of lobster sauce inside the potato. Surround the potato with the cheddar sauce. Place the shrimp inside the potatoes with the tails sticking out.

3. Arrange the crispy plantains and the chives in the center. Sprinkle with the diced tomato.

By Chef David Holben, Culpeppers, Dallas, TX