At a recent cooking class at Scott’s Seafood (Folsom, CA), Chef David Lamonica set us to work preparing shrimp with orange beurre blanc (a French butter and shallot sauce). Chef David says the best shrimp to get are fresh, Gulf of Mexico White shrimp, still in the shell. Gulf white shrimp are firm and sweet. For this particular dish I used Gulf of Mexico Pink shrimp, which are pink even when they are not yet cooked. The are also sweet, but a little more delicate than the Gulf white. By the way, if you are processing a lot of shrimp, the shells can be saved and used to make bisque or stock.
When choosing shrimp, they should be firm and smell sweet. If you see any yellowing at all, pass on them.
- Fresh Gulf of Mexico shrimp - 6 per person, or about 1/4 pound per person
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Sauce ingredients (Sauce also posted here. Makes 1 cup, enough for 4-6 servings. Divide or multiply to needs.)
- 2 oranges
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 teaspoons minced shallots
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- Salt and white pepper
1. Peel and de-vein the shrimp. Work with the shrimp one at a time, leaving the rest in a bowl of ice water. Holding on to the body of the shrimp, use your fingers to pull off head if it is still attached, and then the legs. Starting with the head end, gently peel back the shell. Use your fingernails or a knife to cut into the base shell segment. Remove the shrimp from its shell entirely. Place shrimp down flat on a cutting board and use a small sharp knife to make a shallow cut down the back of the shrimp. You may see a dark, vein-like intestinal tract running through the meat. Use your fingers, or the sharp tip of a knife to remove. As you complete each shrimp, put into a bowl of ice water to keep cool. Set aside while you prepare the sauce.
2 Zest half of one orange (about 2 teaspoons) and juice the two oranges (about 3/4 cup). Put the juice, zest, wine and shallots in a sauce pan on medium high heat. Cook until it is syrupy and almost gone.
3 On low heat, whisk in the butter continuously and vigorously, 1 tablespoon at a time. Butter is the only emulsifier for this sauce, and if you slowly add it, continuously stirring, the sauce will achieve a silky smooth texture. Do not let the sauce boil. Salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm while you continue with the shrimp.
4 Heat a skillet on medium high heat. Drain the shrimp and coat with olive oil. When the pan is hot, add the shrimp and sprinkle on some salt and pepper. Cook the shrimp about 45 seconds on each side. Add some more olive oil if necessary to keep the shrimp from sticking to the pan. Do not overcook or the shrimp will be tough and rubbery.
Drizzle Beurre Blanc sauce over shrimp, or serve in a separate small container for dipping. Excellent accompanied by brown rice.