Thursday, February 04, 2010

A Nostalgic Recipe...

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My sister is a hopeless addict to garage sales. A few weeks ago we were both at home in Louisville at the same time, and she convinced me to go along with her to several. At one of them, there was a stack of old menus. Among them was one from the Fig Tree Restaurant, one of my favorite places to eat in the 70's in Louisville. Long gone now, it was an early innovator in both menu style and individual dishes. It had a set menu that changed each night. You could substitute a steak for the main course, but otherwise, you got what they were serving that night. Knowing what I know now about the food business, it was an incredibly ambitious undertaking.

One of my favorite dishes at the Fig Tree was a shrimp dish. I don't recall their name for it, and it wasn't on the menu I brought home, but I've made my version of this many times over the years. Recently I made it again for friends, who all pronounced it a worthy recipe to share with you.

The reduction is similar to that for béarnaise sauce, and includes chervil. This isn't the most common of herbs. In my opinion, it is under-rated and under-used. It makes a good addition to salad dressings, and is particularly nice in almost any potato salad recipe. Added to butter with lemon, it can be drizzled over grilled fish or chicken.

A suggestion: for herbs and spices you're not sure you're going to want to use over and over, go to Penzey's, on Poplar near Kirby Parkway. They sell almost everything in small packages. If you don't have chervil, you can leave it out of this recipe and it will still be very good.

I make it in individual baking dishes, but you can just as easily make it in one shallow casserole. I like to serve it on a bed of rice with mushrooms, with tomatoes topped with garlic breadcrumbs and baked. If you serve it with rice, you might want to double the sauce ingredients so you will have some to pass at the table.


To start:
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon dried chervil
2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
1 shallot, very finely minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To finish:
1/4 cup butter
1 clove garlic, smashed
2 pounds raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
Minced parsley for garnish

Combine all the "to start" ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer until reduced by about half. In another pan, melt the butter with the clove of garlic in it. Remove the smashed garlic clove and add the wine reduction.

Preheat the oven to 350. Place the shrimp in one layer in a shallow baking dish. Pour the butter-herb mixture over the top and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the shrimp is just done.


wine blog said...

Sounds delicious. I have been in the mood for seafood as of late. Perhaps it's because my wife hates it and I never get it at home. I grew up with good Calabash seafood and now I never eat any good seafood. Perhaps it's also due to the fact I live in Arizona.

オテモヤン said...
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