How many things do you have in your cooking repertoire that merit being called classics? I know that I have very few and I’m going to share one of them with you today. I have been thinking about making it ever since Sarah at All Our Fingers in the Pie got me thinking about carrot juice a few months ago. I figured out how to grow chervil for this dish (sandy soil in a flagstone patio) and got a juicer so I could make it when I wasn’t in the city (carrot juice isn’t available in small towns in upstate NY) -- that’s how good it is. Ok, ok what is it?
Shrimp in spicy carrot juice
from Jean Georges Vongerichten.
For those of you who do not know of him, he appeared in my culinary crosshairs as a chef at his first NY restaurant, Lafayette in the 80’s followed by his own JoJo bistro but it was Vong in the early 90’s (sadly it closed in 2009) that rocked my world. It was new and full of fresh flavors inspired by his tour in Asia working at hotels in Singapore and Hong Kong –flavors that he re-tuned and personalized. He turned French style food on its ear, replacing stocks and buttery sauces with flavorful fruit and vegetable juices. The first time I tasted his food I was knocked down.
Jean Georges, NYC
I have been to his 4-star Jean Georges (with great pastry maker Johnny Iuzzini ) and the Spice Market (where I discovered Pichet Ong — another sensational pastry maker) and still bow in awe at the food that comes out of his kitchen. He now has restaurants all over the world so many can enjoy his cuisine.
I found the NYT’s recipe from the early 90’s that started my relationship with my now classic dish and got me to buy his cookbook Simple Cuisine: The cookbook that redefined healthful four-star cooking. As I compare the original to my handwritten version in my sauce splattered “Black Book” I can see the evolution that has occurred over nearly 20 years of making it. For instance, I started finishing the shrimp with a splash of Madeira and losing the extra butter very soon after the first time I made it. Deborah over at a Doctor’s Kitchen will be proud of me for that. But honestly, it doesn’t need it. The flavors just sing. I also fried julienne carrot and zested lemon peel for garnish because I love the sweet and bitter bites. If you put it on a bed of whole-wheat couscous, it is a spectacularly healthy and flavorful dish.
Shrimp in Spicy Carrot Juice serves 4
1 ¼ pound shrimp, peeled and de-veined
s & p to taste
1 shallot, minced
2 T butter
1 cup carrot juice
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
½ t curry powder
pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice
cayenne pepper to taste (pinch to ½ t)
chervil or parsley, chopped
½ carrot, julienned ( I used my oxo zester to do this… works brilliantly)
1 cup whole wheat couscous
1 ½ c water
1 t salt
Put the couscous and the water in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and cover. Fluff with a fork before serving.
Sauté the shallot in 2 T butter till translucent, salt and pepper the shrimp and add to the butter for a few moments. Turn and toss in the spices, the zest and the julienne and sauté for a few moments (or sauté the zest and julienne separately for a fresher look). Add the carrot juice and turn down the heat. Add the lemon juice.
Put the carrot and zest over the shrimp (I had gorgeous burgundy carrots and couldn’t help using a few in the dish sliced razor thin) and sprinkle with the chervil or parsley.
Serve on top of the couscous.
thanks to Gollum for hosting Foodie Friday