A Blog Mainly About Food

If by "mainly" you mean "sometimes"

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Oxymoronic Shrimp


Shtimp Pasta, Day 2
Originally uploaded by Kanishka.
First, man is my camera sucky. Must have investment for future: very good digital camera.

But this was, I think, one of the better dinners to come out of the depths of "I'm too good for recipes" land. I picked up some nice looking jumbo shrimp along with the other ingredients from the market on Saturday, but waited until Sunday to do it up. Stem to stern this recipe took about an hour or so, and was well worth it.

1 dozen jumbo shrimp (head on if available)
2 medium or one large, fresh heirloom tomato, diced
1 shallot, sliced
4 cloves garlic, sliced or crushed
Cilantro to taste
Salt to taste

Peel and devein the shrimp, reserving the shells. Pour 1 cup water in a small saucepan or pot and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp shells (and heads if you have them) along with a touch of salt and spare veggies (celery, carrots, that sort) if you like, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered for at least 30 minutes. Sit back for a bit; have a glass of pinot grigio.

After 20 minutes, start your pasta going in a large pot while sautéeing the shallots and garlic over medium heat in a heavy pan. Throw in the tomato and stir around, breaking up any large pieces with your spatula. Here's where I differ from many: I don't care if the tomatoes are skinned or not. You may, in which case good luck to you; this is where our paths part.

Throw in the raw shrimp and lower heat to medium low. Take your shrimp stock and strain in a very fine sieve or cheesecloth. Discard leftover solids. Your stock should have the color of a Sam Adams, though it certainly won't taste like one. Pour half a cup of the stock into the pan and heat (your stock should aleady be at a boil) until the shrimp is just barely opaque. Finish the pasta in the sauce and add in cilantro as you like. Enjoy.

***

A few things about this meal. I realize now I should have used thinner pasta, but oh well. But the real fun part here was making the stock, which I'd never done before. I assume that since shrimp shells are significantly thinner than, say, veal bones, shrimp stock is much easier to make. I was actually inspired by the ground beef episode of Iron Chef America, where I believe the opponent made a consommé from the beef. Not a bad idea! Finally, I would have benefitted with some citrus on this to brighten it -- lemon zest, or maybe lemon juice. But that's an experiment for another day.

(btw, it was fine reheated, but not as good as day 1, natch.)