Every once in a while, I make a dish and vow never to do it any other way. (Of course there are also times where I make a dish and exclaim, “WHAT was I thinking?!”) Luckily, this is the former.
I know olive oil has been used to poach fish and other proteins for years, but I never thought it could make THAT much of a difference. WHAT was I thinking?! It does. I can’t imagine cooking shrimp any other way, ever.
I know I always urge you to try things, but if you’re going to try anything different, let it be this. The texture of the shrimp is way more tender and the flavors you put in your poaching liquid infuse beautifully into the shrimp.
1 cups extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 preserved lemon, quartered
1 bunch basil
12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons salt, plus additional salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper, plus additional pepper to taste
1 head cauliflower
1 half lemon
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence (or Italian seasoning)
Parmesan cheese, grated
Cut up the cauliflower and set in a steam pot on high.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine olive oil, garlic, the preserved lemon, and basil stems. Using a candy thermometer, heat oil to 180ºF. (Be careful not to let the oil exceed 200º or when you add the shrimp they will be fried, rather than poached.)
Once you have reached the optimal temperature turn off the burner.
Season shrimp with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and add them to oil. Allow to slowly poach until they are almost done and slightly translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from oil and set aside.
Using a food processor or immersion blender on high, purée the cauliflower with the basil leaves (saving a few for garnish) and juice from the half lemon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat a frying pan or griddle on medium-high and brush with olive oil.
Halve the tomatoes (as many as you want) and sprinkle the cut halves with seasoning. When the pan is hot, place the seasoned tomatoes, cut side down, into the pan. Sear for several minutes. You don’t want them to cook down, just heat through.
Typical Tomate Provencal has breadcrumbs and parsley on top, but I thought it best to keep simple for this dish.
Place some of the mash into a bowl, top with the shrimp, and drizzle a little of the poaching oil on top. Place a tomato in each bowl and garnish with basil and some Parmesan.
A Pinto Gris wold work well with this, but I served it with a Gewurtztraminer and was very happy.