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March 25, 2007

Butter, Butter and Butter

Dominic Armato
No, no... that's how much was LEFT of the two pounds I bought.

I think I set a new personal best for the second course of our anniversary dinner this past Saturday. Of course, only a small fraction of that was actually consumed, but still...

This is a recipe that's been percolating for quite some time, but when I came across Thomas Keller's ode to beurre monté recently, the final piece fell into place. Beurre monté is an interesting little beast. Simple but brutally effective, it's little more than butter that's emulsified with a touch of water as it's melting, so that you can bring it close to 200° before it starts to separate... ideal for poaching.

The combination was originally intended for popcorn, actually. My ladylove was whipping up a batch, and I started digging through the pantry trying to come up with something more interesting than plain old butter to top it with. The honey and curry were a nice start, but they needed just a little something to put them over the top, and unsweetened cocoa just worked. I did this with rock shrimp, but regular shrimp would be quite tasty, as would lobster. If you have a source and the means (they're pricey little buggers), I think langostini would rock this dish up and down. In any case, when you're done with the poaching butter, in keeping with the recipe's roots, don't pitch it. Save it for later and drizzle it over popcorn. A lot of popcorn.



Dominic Armato

2 C. peeled and chopped parsnips
1¼ C. heavy cream
¾ C. water
½ tsp. kosher salt
3 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. minced shallot
1½ lb. unsalted butter
1½ tsp. kosher salt
1½ tsp. Madras curry powder
¼ C. honey
1 lb. rock shrimp
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Fuji apple
shredded fresh mint
unsweetened cocoa powder

Curry-Honey Butter Poached Shrimp with Parsnip Puree,
Fuji Apples and Cocoa
Serves 4-6

First, get the parsnips going. When you chop the parsnips, you want all of your bits to be of roughly uniform size. That way, some won't be turning to mush while others haven't softened yet. Combine the parsnips, 1¼ C. heavy cream, ¾ C. water and ½ tsp. salt in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Immediately drop the heat and keep them at a gentle simmer for about 25-30 minutes, until the parsnips have completely softened. Strain the parsnips and save the cream. Toss the parsnips in a food processor or, preferably, push them through a tamis (drum sieve) with a plastic scraper... you'll get a smoother puree this way. Return the parsnips to the saucepan and mix in ¼ C. of the reserved cream mixture (don't pitch it just yet!). You want the puree to be smooth without getting wet or runny. Take it off the heat and leave it someplace warm-ish... next to the stove while you do the rest of the prep?

Next up, the poaching butter. Combine the 3 Tbsp. water and shallots in a cold saucepan, and bring the water to a boil. When the water boils, turn the head down low and start whisking in the butter, a little bit at a time. Once you have a nice emulsion established (i.e., the butter isn't breaking down into the liquidy yellow stuff and the white creamy stuff), you can start whisking the butter in faster. Keep going until you've whisked in the whole pound and a half. While still whisking, add the 1½ tsp. salt, curry and honey. Keep whisking until everything is combined, and then turn off the heat until you're ready to poach the shrimp.

To poach the shrimp, it helps to have a thermometer. Otherwise, you have to be really careful not to let it boil, and you need to watch it like a hawk for the slightest signs of separation. Bring the poaching butter up to about 170-180° and toss in the shrimp. Poach the shrimp until they're just cooked through, about 6-7 minutes. Immediately remove them from the poaching liquid with a slotted spoon so that they don't overcook and get tough.

Also, while the shrimp are poaching, warm up the parsnip puree and mix in an additional 2 Tbsp. of the reserved cream mixture (NOW you can pitch it) and the last 2 Tbsp. of butter, and salt to taste.

To assemble the dish, lay down some of the parsnip puree, top with the shrimp, fan out some apple, spoon a bit of the poaching butter over the top, dust lightly with the cocoa and finish with a little mint. It's a rich dish. A little goes a very long way.

Comments

Man! That is one of the BEST looking/sounding dishes I've come across in quite a while. Bravo!

Hey, it's Christina from E3. I was just thinking "I wonder what Dom is up to" and I found this. :) Man, all the food looks amazing! I definitely should not be looking at this blog on an empty stomach because now I want to eat everything. If only I knew how to cook! haha.

Glad to see you are doing well.

You have a beautiful blog, great recipes and pictures. :)

hello there,
just found your blog and love it! this dish sounds delicious. you make a lot of delicious things over here.

can you please tell me what "pinch it" means? As in: 'don't pitch it just yet' or '(NOW you can pitch it)'

Pitch It = Throw It Out

Sorry for the confusion :-)

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