Updated: Dec 15, 2020
New Years is soon upon us. You may be looking for something special that you can prepare yourself. This is just the thing. Large shrimp in a sophisticated, intensely flavored sauce with a touch of sweetness and tang, this recipe is both a little unusual and definitely delicious.
Large Mexican White Shrimp are some of the best shrimp you can buy. We sell them, along with the fish stock if you don't want to make that yourself. For the holidays you might want to pre order, just in case. They can be big sellers!
Use it as an amazing appetizer or with pasta to make a complete anytime meal. We've adapted the recipe from the classic The Silver Spoon circa 1950, translated from Italian to English in 2005.
To the New Year and better times ahead.
Serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 as a dinner with pasta
GAMBERI IN SALSA DOLCEFORTE
Shrimp in Strong Sweet Sauce
1 pound large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (reserve the shells). Strongly suggest using Mexican White Shrimp
5 TB olive oil
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 leek, finely chopped
1/2 cup brandy
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup Fish Fumet (For this recipe, reduce regular fish stock by half to get fish fumet)
1 spring fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seed and chopped or 1/2 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 TB sugar
All purpose flour (enough to dust the shrimp)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
scant 1/2 cup golden raisins (but you could also use ordinary raisins, we did)
1 TB toasted pine nuts
salt and pepper
Heat 3 TB of the oil in a large pan. Add the shrimp shells, carrots, celery, onion and leek. Cook over low heat stirring occasionally until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add the brandy and cook until it is evaporated. Add the white wine and bring to a boil. Add the fish stock, thyme, bay leaf and tomatoes.
Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is thickened somewhat. Look for thickly breaking bubbles. Do not let it all boil down as you want there to be enough liquid to capture by straining.
Place the contents of the pan in a sieve or chinois and strain the liquid into a new pot (we prefer non-stick for this step). Remember to take a large spoon or other appropriate tool to push down on the vegetables to extract all the liquid.
Simmer the liquid until it is reduced to 5 or 6 Tablespoons. Take the pot off the heat and set aside.
Pare the lemons, avoiding all the white pith. Long strips are nice but not mandatory. Cut the peel into very thin batons (the size of matchsticks). Squeeze lemons and strain the juice. Reserve.
Using three separate changes of boiling water, blanch the batons three times. Drain the water and place the rinds into a small pot. Add the sugar and 2 tablespoons water. Bring the water to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved then boil without stirring until the lemon rind is coated with the syrup. Don't overcook, you don't want it to get so hard that you can't get it out of the pot. Remove from the heat. The rinds may harden or mass into a ball but if you haven't overcooked them they will come apart when placed in the sauce.
You can do all the above in advance which means there's very little left to do!
Lightly dust the shrimp with the flour. Heat the remaining 2 TB of olive oil in a large pan. Add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned. Sprinkle in the cinnamon. Add the reserved stock, lemon juice, lemon rind, raisins and pine nuts and mix well. Season with salt to taste and serve.
Wine suggestion: Sangiovese
If you would like to pair the shrimp with pasta, we suggest the following:
PASTA AGLIO E OLIO
Pasta with Garlic and Oil
8 oz. thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta (our choices), or any spaghetti
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3rd cup (more or less to taste) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tsp (more or less to taste) hot red pepper flakes
10-15 large sprigs Italian parsley, chopped (leaves only if you want to be fancy and don't mind crunch)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Meanwhile, in a large pan (we prefer non-stick for this), heat the oil, then add the garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste then cook over low heat until the garlic just starts to turn brown. About 2 minutes.
Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and add to the large pan. Add the parsley and toss. Season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Add a little more olive oil if you like. Serve immediately with the shrimp to the side.