Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Shrimp Gratin with Panko Bread Crumbs, Lemon and Rosemary
You know how people tend to talk about the weather when they have nothing to really say to one another? In Montreal, talking about the weather is more like talking about a secret society that every person in the city is a part of. It's been bitterly cold here in the past couple days: the kind of cold that makes your eyelashes water and then freeze. The cold is not particular sexy either, and is really not the best time for street interactions. I caught myself laughing today as I looked up onto one of Montreal's busy streets only to see a dozen bright red faces ahead of me, all of them looking down at their shoes, with over-sized mittens, snow shoes and scarfs, yet holding their regular sleek briefcases or leather purses. It was quite the scene.
My mother had called me a couple days ago, complaining about how cold it had been in Paris. I don't think you know cold until you've experienced Montreal cold though! However, cold and bitter days such as these force you to catch up on warmth whenever you can. My kitchen has been full of steaming hearty goods, and meals that make you appreciate being home. This shrimp gratin surely warmed up the night. The recipe, which is Ina Garten's, uses a lot of butter, and I am already thinking of ways to make the dish next time to cut down on some of the fat. Nonetheless, this was a delicious and easy meal, made complete by a bowl of steaming white rice.
Recipe (serves 6)
2 pounds (12 to 15 per pound) shrimp in the shell
3 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
1/4 cup minced shallots
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 extra-large egg yolk
2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
Lemon wedges, for serving
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and toss gently with the olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature while you make the butter and garlic mixture.
In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until combined.
Starting from the outer edge of a 14-inch oval gratin dish, arrange the shrimp in a single layer cut side down with the tails curling up and towards the center of the dish. Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Spread the butter mixture evenly over the shrimp. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute. Serve with lemon wedges.