Friday, April 30, 2010

Olive Oil Poached Shrimp with Ginger-Tomato Sauce and Avocado and Carrot Salad

        I am always on the lookout not just for recipes but for cooking techniques to share.  I thought we had shrimp completely under control with Ina Garten’s Roasted Shrimp recipe.  The oven roasted results beat any boiled shrimp we’d ever tasted.  We’ll never make shrimp cocktail any other way. 

But here’s a recipe that uses Olive Oil as a poaching liquid and turns out the most tender, beautifully cooked creatures and, if you time them precisely, in 25 minutes you have absolutely exquisite shrimp.   And no, they are not the least bit ‘oily’.  That’s really the only downside to the recipe.  You need at least 17 ounces of the stuff or enough to fill a sauté pan with an inch of oil.  But after I finished, I strained what I’d used, put it back in its bottle and into the refrigerator for re-use.  And, like those ancient commercials for Crisco Oil, I was amazed at how little of the oil had been absorbed.  I had very close to the full bottle I started out with.  

Please don’t use your best Olive Oil for this dish.  You don’t really have to use Extra Virgin.  Just a good bottle of standard olive oil will do.  The sauce is wonderful too.  I served it with a simple Carrot and Avocado Salad.  With the pink shrimp, red ginger-tomato sauce, there was a lot of beautiful color on our dinner table. 

This recipe came from Fine Cooking (again!).  I really love the magazine for its deep dives into a single subject.  In this case, the whole article is about poaching seafood in Olive Oil.  I am quite sure that you have not seen the last of recipes using this technique. Here’s the recipe:

Recipe for Olive Oil Poached Shrimp with Ginger-Tomato Sauce

For the shrimp
1-1/2 lb. jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 per lb., 4-5 shrimp per person), peeled and deveined
1/2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
1/2 tsp. freshly grated ginger

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
4 to 6 cups extra-virgin olive oil

For the sauce
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
Kosher salt
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. freshly grated ginger
1/2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
16-oz. diced tomatoes (I recommend Pomi)
1 Tbs. fresh orange juice
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar(Optional)

Poach the shrimp

In a mixing bowl, toss the shrimp with the orange zest, ginger, pepper flakes, and 3/4 tsp. salt. Let sit at room temperature for about an hour.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 225°F.

Pour 1 inch of oil into a medium (10-inch) straight-sided sauté pan. Heat over low heat until the oil reaches 120°F, 2 to 3 minutes.

Slide the shrimp into the oil and immediately transfer the pan to the oven. Poach until the shrimp are opaque throughout , 25 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a wire rack and blot on both sides with paper towels to remove excess oil.

Make the sauce
While the shrimp poach, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and orange zest and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes and their juices, orange juice, and sugar and simmer for 5 minutes to meld the flavors. Purée the sauce in a food processor. Return to the pan, season to taste with salt, and keep warm over low heat until the shrimp are ready. Distribute the tomato sauce among 4 serving plates, arrange the shrimp on top of the sauce, and serve.

Recipe for Avocado and Carrot Salad

The starting off point for this recipe was one found in Gourmet. It called for ½ cup of cilantro, which would have given this salad even more color.  However, cilantro is fairly polarizing around here so we omitted it and didn’t miss it.

1 lb medium carrots
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 firm-ripe California avocado

Halve carrots lengthwise, then cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces. Cook carrots in a 4- to 6-quart pot of boiling salted water until just tender,
5 to 6 minutes. Drain in a colander and transfer to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking. Let stand 5 minutes, then drain again and pat dry.
While carrots cool, stir together cilantro, onion, oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until combined.

Quarter avocado lengthwise, then peel and pit. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces and add to dressing along with carrots. Toss to combine.


  1. Monte this technique really works, I love it. But I notice here that you save the leftover oil. (I've been throwing it out!) Will it have a shrimp flavor? If so, how else could I use it?

    Love your blog!!

  2. I should have mentioned that I am hoping th shrimp flavored oil will add flavor to a poached fish. But if you use it again with shrimp, it should give the next round an even greater shrimp flavor. Do a taste test and see whether you like the flavor of the "shrimp infused oil" you've saved. I hate to see you throw it out, but if it's not to your taste, do so. All best and thanks for the compliments! Monte