Shrimp Thing

Oh my goodness.  This will need to be fluffed up and stuck in my Recipes menu, but for now, an outline.

I read a while back about poaching shrimp in butter, and the idea seemed so decadent that it simmered on my back burner until i gave up and Googled.  Well, yes, lots of hits.  And then when i started reading them i discovered that the great majority were variations on Michael Rullman’s recipe, and yes, pairing shrimp with grits does sound good.  Well, until i looked more closely at his grits and saw that his recipe for grits calls for chopping a bunch of bacon into the pot, frying it up, cooking some onion in the fat, then adding the grits and liquid and cooking until the grits are tender and have absorbed all the fat.

Well, yes, that sounds delicious, and the next time i cook grits i’ll try that.  For this dish, though, plain grits would seem to be a better choice, and definitely a healthier one.  Ummm, or better yet, polenta.  And yeah, yeah, polenta is traditionally made from flint corn rather than dent corn, and i’m not sure that the polenta grind sold at my beloved Rainbow Grocery is not a dent corn imposter, but they say it’s organic and has not been degerminated like the stuff you get in supermarket packages, and for sure it tastes better.  Corn is complicated, but click here for an excellent article on it.

But what about the shrimp?  Every recipe i looked at called for whisking a half pound of salted butter a few chunks at a time into a couple tablespoons of simmering water, bringing the emulsion up to 170-180 F., adding a pound of shrimp, and then fussing with the heat to keep the temperature within the prescribed range for 3 minutes, testing a shrimp for doneness, and then cooking a bit more until the shrimp are completely opaque and done through but still incredibly tender and juicy.

Are we all slavering now?

Then you scoop the shrimp out and array them on top of the grits, pouring some of the poaching butter on top.  Trimalchio would be pleased; hell, he’d be blown away since it would be a millennium and a half before corn would arrive in Italy.

But before i could get all the ingredients together i was struck by one of my increasingly rare flashes of inspiration.  Why mess with all that temperature regulation on the stove top when you can press your old slow cooker into service?  And miracle of miracles, when i turn mine down to Low after i’ve emulsified the butter and let it rest for a while, it maintains a temperature within the correct range.  How perfectly simple!

And then a second bit of inspiration struck.  We’re at the tail end of the fresh sweet corn season now, so after you’ve dumped the shrimp into the hot butter, why not just throw an unhusked ear of corn into the microwave for 2:22, cut off the butt end, shake it out of the of husk and silks, and cut it off the cob with a knife.   Then scoop the shrimp onto the hot corn with a reasonable amount of the butter.

As good as it sounds?  You betcha.  So mess with that slow cooker of yours and see what temperature it will hold.


And OK, since there wasn’t time to take a photo before i started gobbling… either of the times i made this for myself, i’ll have to make do with this shot of an ice cream sandwich Karen made at Company.

Ice Cream Sandwich at Company



Oh well.  I badly needed a photo of the Shrimp Thing, so i got the butter out of the refrigerator and heated it up and made another batch.  Remembered why i’d made it only after i’d wolfed through about two-thirds, but was able to re-plate the remainder for this shot.  And no, those are not five inch shrimp but rather, a seven inch plate.

Shrimp Thing

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