Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Father's Day Alert

Recently Ralph Brennan released his eponymous cookbook covering the seafood of New Orleans. This book has a certain amount of heft to it; however one thing you will appreciate is the detail to which Mr. Brennan and his co-writers devote to each recipe. Ever wanted to know how to clean soft-shell crabs? A photographic step-by-step account awaits. I highly recommend this book (and Mr. Brennan will gladly sign and personalize a copy for you) for either you or say your dad.

On Saturday for lunch Lady and I tried out Mr. Brennan's recipe for Barbecue Shrimp. We scored some U-15s from the Crescent City Farmer's Market. The recipe turned out wonderful. However, in an attempt to make the recipe more user friendly, Mr. Brennan instructs the careful culinarian to add a few drops of water followed by bits of butter to the pan. This is of course essentially a technique known as beurre monte. However, for the sake of shrimp (and their fragile cooking time) I would suggest preparing the beurre monte beforehand and then ladling into the pan. This can easily by done by adding a tablespoon of water to a sauce pan and then slowly whisking in bits of cold butter. The resulting, still emulsified, melted butter is a great all around cooking tool (especially for ladling over meats before popping in the oven).

Using beurre monte, rather than making beurre monte in the pan, will allow you to better control the doneness of the shrimp. No real effect on the flavor, but perfectly cooked shrimp are easier to peel. And perfection is the only goal here at Blackened Out.

Other than that one minor problem, the shrimp exploded with flavor and of course, there was some serious sopping up to do. We drank a bottle of the Medlock Ames Chardonnay from the State Dinner. Then a nap. Nice little way to spend a Saturday.

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