Tuesday, May 12, 2009

79. Herb-Poached Shrimp

Date Cooked: May 10, 2009
Page: 21
Rating: B+

** That is a very bad picture. I know. I failed at poaching shrimp.**

Shrimp were one of those foods that as a child I despised, but as an adult love. Although both my wife and I agree that the larger the shrimp gets the more important it is that it is cooked correctly. Although the recipe for herb-poached shrimp recommends extra large, all I had were large so they would have to do.

I started by peeling the shells off the shrimp which would be used to create a stock for poaching the shrimp in. If I had thought more about presentation, I would have left the tail piece on but I didn’t really think about it until later. Not that it would have mattered as you can tell by the picture. They looked horrible, but more on that tragedy shortly. With the shrimp de-shelled I set to making the poaching broth.

The shells were boiled in salted water for about twenty minutes. Once done the shells were discarded and into the hot liquid went, tarragon, parsley, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, lemon juice and white wine. The ingredients were boiled for a few minutes to allow their flavors to unite before the shrimp were added. Once the shrimp were in the solution the temperature was turned off and they were left to soak for 8-10 minutes. Or that’s how long they were supposed to be.

I think almost twenty-five minutes passed before I realized they were still in the stock. With great alarm I lifted the lid and was shocked by the disaster I had wrought! I could barely see the shrimp because the water had turned very milky white. I quickly removed the shrimp (and everything else in the water since I couldn’t see anything in the white liquid), and plunged them into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process, 15 minutes later than required.

I was a little heart-broken with this disaster since I knew the shrimp were very overcooked and tough. My wife’s family like shrimp and every family get together involves them. Well since this was a mother’s day meal with family I put them out anyway and they were still all eaten. The sauces I had made for them may have helped a little.

Rating: B+. I will make these again if only to validate that I screwed it up bad. You could taste the herb flavors but since they were so overcooked I’m sure a lot of the flavor that was gained was subsequently lost.

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