Just the name is inspiring: butter-poached shrimp. Butter-poached shrimp and grits. Mmmm.
Butter-poached lobster, not uncommon in French haute cuisine, was popularized in America by Thomas Keller in The French Laundry Cookbook and at that restaurant. “Lobster loves gentle heat,” he told me then. It’s not much of a leap for the thrifty-minded cook to reason that shrimp, too, love gentle heat. That’s why, in the butter chapter of my new book, I showed how to use butter as a cooking medium (one of the many amazing ways butter can be used as a tool). This dish is absolutely killer. The shrimp stay very tender, rich and tasty with the butter; the grits are then enriched with the shrimp butter. Leftover butter can be used to saute shrimp and garlic for a shrimp stir-fry, use it to scramble eggs and serve with cured salmon, or enrich a shellfish sauce (save your shrimp shells).
Want the recipe for butter-poached shrimp and grits? It’s here, on the Splendid Table site. The awesome Lynne Rossetto Kasper interviews me about the book and about one of her favorite ingredients, butter. I adore National Public Media’s Splendid Table and it’s host, who is extremely knowledgable, a genuine pro. She has her own new book out now, How To Eat Weekends coauthored with Sally Swift. All of Lynne’s work is first rate and I highly recommend her books. You can listen to us talk butter (and hear so much more) on your local NPR station or download Lynne’s podcasts.
Want to have a look at my wife Donna’s great process shots? Scroll down. One of the best parts of the book is the photography. Our goal was to show how food is supposed to look like, can look like, in your kitchen, rather present than heavily worked over studio food photography. We couldn’t do if we tried—or we could but it’s just not what we do. I like to look at food porn, but not make it. We’re after information, visual information in this case. But looking at that lead photo, well, it’s looking pretty damn good. I think I know what I’m having for breakfast tomorrow.
Sidenote: Today I’ll be at the Fabulous Food Show in Cleveland, 3:15 on the Celebration Stage (with my sous chef Mac Dalton, my partner in Dalton-Ruhlman tools). On Tuesday, November 15 I’ll be in Washington, DC, at the National Press Club 34th Annual Book Fair & Authors Night. My assistant Emilia, my Robin, insists that I ask you to follow me on Twitter and on Facebook. Which I hope you do—I try to answer all questions.
How to butter poach shrimp from Ruhlman’s Twenty, photography by Donna Turner Ruhlman:
If you liked this post on shrimp and grits, check out these other links:
- My rant on animals and the ethics of eating: It’s a Wonderful Life.
- Learn how to make grits with sausage.
- Hushpuppy Nation is a blog focused on the Southern food’s history and culture.
- Video: watch the Perennial Plate catch shrimp in New Orleans.
© 2011 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2011 Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights reserved