Sauteed Shrimp in Beurre Blanc with Spring Vegetables in Puff Pastry

March 28th, 2010

I love watching Tyler Florence’s ultimate recipes on The Food Network. Everything he makes looks like perfection. Last week he made this recipe using scallops and I was determined to try it. When I got to the supermarket shrimp were about half the price of scallops and since I have been cooking alot of scallops lately, I thought the shrimp would be a good alternative. The carrots he used in the recipe were fresh baby carrots and they looked like they had just been pulled from the earth and gently washed. All I could find were the bagged small carrots that I usually avoid. Tyler used wild chanterelle mushrooms but there was not a wild mushroom in sight at the market, so I used plain button mushrooms. The beurre blanc sauce that he used got several negative reviews and was heavy on the vinegar and butter so I looked for a buerre blanc sauce that was kinder to our weight loss program. (As an update I am 8 pounds lighter and am looking forward to walking the mountain roads in Lake Lure). He did suggest that frozen peas were a fine substitute for fresh baby peas so that was not a problem. I already had one sheet of puff pastry in the freezer that had been there for a time and when I cooked my pastry cups they did not get as tall as Tyler’s but I persevered with my prep work wondering how I could have gotten so off base with a recipe. By the time I plated the food, it looked very appetizing, and when we sat down to eat, it all tasted outstanding. Just imagine what it would be like if I had all of the right ingredients. This recipe is a keeper and when I get to the Farmer’s Market in Asheville I will be looking for fresh baby carrots, fresh peas in the pod and wild chanterelle mushrooms.


1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed and cut into 4 1/2 inch diameter circles
1 egg, lightly beaten
Sea salt (I used Kosher salt)
1 cup sweet baby peas or frozen peas run under warm water to thaw
2 bunches baby carrots, trimmed and peeled with a little stem left on
1 pound shelled and deveined shrimp or 1 pound scallops
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pint chanterelles, halved (or similar wild mushrooms)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Beurre Blanc:
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 stick unsalted butter cut into small cubes and kept cold
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Begin by baking the puff pastry cups. Lay the thawed puff pastry sheet on a light floured surface. Using a 4 1/2 inch round cutter, cut out 4 circles. Set them on a parchement-lined sheet pan. Lightly score the tops of the puff pastry with a 4 inch round cutter. This will help remove the top of the puff pastry after it is cooked, to create a cup. Beat egg then use a a pastry brush to brush the tops. Season with sea salt and place into the preheated oven. Bake in oven for 12 to 15 minutes until golden and crispy. Once cooled, cut the tops of the cups off and lay bases out on plates with the tops next to them.

For the carrots and peas. If using fresh baby carrots, add carrots to a pot of boiling water and blanch them until they are tender but firm, about 2 minutes. If using fresh peas add them about 1 minute after the carrots. Drain the vegetables and set aside. If using bagged small carrots, place on a sheet pan with a drizzle of olive oil and roast in the oven until slightly browned. If using frozen peas, run them under warm water to thaw.

Clean the shrimp or scallops and season with salt and pepper. Set a large saute pan over high heat and add olive oil. Once heated, add shrimp and cook until they just turn pink. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook until done. Return the shrimp to the pan along with the carrots and peas. Keep warm.

Make the beurre blanc sauce. Add the minced shallot, vinegar and wine to a small saucepan. Cook over medium high heat until liquid is reduced to 2 tablespoons. Add the cream and warm it in the pan. Reduce the heat to low and add the cold butter cubes a few at a time whisking to incorporate them. Continue adding cubes and whisking until all of the butter is incorporated into the sauce. Keep the heat low so the butter does not separate. Remove from heat.

To serve, portion out the shrimp mixture in and around the pastry cups on the plates. Spoon sauce on shrimp mixture and put tops back on pastry cups. Serve immediately.

Dazzling Salad Towers

August 11th, 2009

They say that if you find at least one recipe that you love in a cookbook it is worth the price that you paid for it. I have just begun reading a new cookbook that I purchased at one of my favorite haunts, The Screen Door in Asheville. The Screen Door is basically an antique mall with an emphasis on garden design, but one section of the store is devoted to books and more books. They are all new books with an emphasis on cookbooks and design books. The prices are at least 40% off of the retail price and sometimes you can find terrific bargains like the book I purchased. Are you ready for this? I found a James Beard Foundation winner by Peggy Knickerbocker called Simple Soirees; Seasonal Menus for Sensational Dinner Parties, for $7.00. The list price on the book is $35.00. It would be worth it even if I had paid full price for it for this sensational salad recipe. And there are many more eye poppers just like it in this beautiful book.

The beauty of this salad is the beauty. I love the luscious layers that are created by four separate salads that can be made ahead of time and assembled quickly at meal time. Not only is it gorgeous to look at, but it tastes sublime. There is so much complexity to each layer that taken as a whole, it sparks taste buds that you never knew you even had. I can hardly wait to serve it to guests. The only thing you need that you may not have is a 4 or 5 inch metal ring open on the top and bottom that you can buy at a cooking or hardware store. If you do not wish to buy one you can layer the four salads in a trifle bowl.


For the Shrimp Salad:
1 bay leaf
6 peppercorns
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp
2 Tbls fresh lemon juice

Splash of olive oil
2 green onions, minced

Bring 1 cup of water, the bay leaf, wine, peppercorns, and salt to a boil in a small pot. Add the shrimp, reduce the heat to a moderate simmer, and cook for about 4 minutes, or until the shrimp turn pink. Drain, rinse briefly in cold water, and spread out on the side of the sink until cool. Peel and devein the shrimp. Place the shrimp in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice, olive oil, and green onions. Cover and refrigerate. This can be done hours before the party.

For the Tomato Salad:
4 large tomatoes, cored and diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
10 large basil leaves cut into thin strips
2 Tbls olive oil

Place the tomatoes in a bowl and toss with salt and pepper to taste, the garlic, basil, and olive oil. Cover and refrigerate. Right before assembling, transfer the salad to a colander to drain the excess juices.

For the Avocado Salad:
3 to 4 ripe Hass avocaos, peeled with seed removed
4 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 medium tomato, seeded, and chopped
1 jalapeno chili, slit lengthwise, seeded, and minced
A pinch of brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of 1 lime

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well with your hands, leaving some chunks.

For the Cucumber Salad:
1 small clove of garlic
1 Tbls capers, drained
1 Tbls red wine vinegar
Black pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
1 English cucumber
1 Tbls chopped oregano

Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and salt together to make a paste. Add the capers and pound again. Add the vinegar and pepper and mix with a fork. Then add the olive oil and mix again with a fork and transfer to a bowl. Slice the cucumber in half lengthwise and slice each half into thin pieces. Add cucumber pieces to bowl and toss with dressing. Sprinkle with oregano and toss again. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.

To Assemble the Stacked Salad:

Place one 4 to 5 inch ring in the center of a dinner plate. Gently spoon in a layer of the avocado salad and smooth it with the back of the spoon Using a slotted spoon, place a layer of the tomato salad on top of the avocado salad. Then using a slotted spoon, place a layer of the cucumber salad on top of the tomato salad. Arrange a layer of shrimp salad attractively on top of the cucumber salad. Very gently remove the ring. Repeat the procedure for each serving. Makes 6 towers.

Printable recipe

Sauteed Tangerine Shrimp

March 4th, 2009

“Sara Foster has remained true to her beliefs and convictions that good, honest food can be deliciously simple.” – Martha Stewart

North Carolina is fortunate to have many fine cooks and chefs. And we are fortunate that Sara Foster chose to move here in 1990. Her career in cooking took her from her roots in rural Tennessee to New York City where she attended culinary school, worked in restaurants, and became a part of Martha Stewart’s catering team. She eventually branched out on her own and opened her own catering business in Greenwich, Connecticut. One of her dreams had always been to open a gourmet food market and cafe and she found the perfect location for it in Durham, North Carolina. Foster’s Market became so successful that she opened a second store in Chapel Hill in 1998.

I have visited the Durham Foster’s Market on several occasions and was impressed with the array of food available for take-out and wished that I lived close enough to pop in after work to pick up chicken and dumplings or slow roasted pork shoulder with Foster’s applesauce. As it was I had to settle (by no means a hardship) for lunch ordered at the counter and eaten in the funky, but charming dining room.

Sara Foster has written three cookbooks and I own two of them, one signed by Sara herself. Her first cookbook is The Foster’s Market Cookbook which features recipes from the kitchen of Foster’s Market. I especially like the variety of sandwiches and salads that are included. The second cookbook is Fresh Every Day which is geared more to the home cook and includes food that Sara cooks in her own kitchen. She believes in “simple honest food prepared with fresh local and seasonal ingredients”.

To illustrate this philosophy she offers four sauteed shrimp recipes. For Winter, the recipe is the one I cooked today – Sauteed Tangerine Shrimp. For Spring, the recipe is Garlic Sauteed Shrimp with Spinach. For Summer, the recipe is Sauteed Shrimp with Corn and Tomatoes and for Fall, the recipe is Curry Coconut Shrimp.
I can honestly say that the sauteed tangerine shrimp were simple and flavorful and I am looking forward to the other seasonal shrimp recipes. I served the shrimp with jasmine rice and peas.

The warmed sections of tangerine in this dish are a sweet surprise with the shrimp. If you can find them, use clementines, a Mandarin orange variety that comes from Spain. Not only do they have extra flavorful tangy-sweet flesh, clementines are a breeze to peel – and they have no seeds!

Serves 4 to 6

Juice of 4 tangerines or clementines
2 tangerines peeled, sectioned, and seeds removed
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (1-inch piece)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1. Combine the tangerine juice and sections, ginger, garlic and shrimp in a bowl and toss to coat the shrimp. Cover and refrigerate to marinate for 2 to 3 hours.

2. Heat half of the oil and half of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the butter melts. Remove half the shrimp from the marinade, reserving the marinade, season with salt and pepper, and place in the skillet to saute for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side, until they turn pink. Place the shrimp on a platter covered loosely with foil to keep warm. Add the remaining butter and oil and cook the remaining shrimp.

3. When all the shrimp are cooked, pour the marinade and tangerine sections into the skillet, increase the heat to high, and boil the marinade until it has reduced by half, about 30 seconds. Turn off the heat and stir in the cilantro. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed and serve the shrimp warm with the tangerine sauce and sections spooned over them.

Printable recipe

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.