Grilled to per­fec­tion

Pastis Shrimp pays homage to the South of France

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FOOD/COMMUNITY - BY ELIZABETH KARMEL

This is my French-flavoured ver­sion of peel ‘n’ eat shrimp. The sauce is de­li­cious and war­rants a whole baguette just for sop­ping up.

It’s one of those sum­mer dishes that I make fre­quently for friends and fam­ily. The dish pays homage to one of my favourite places on earth, the South of France, where pastis was born.

The flavours of pastis - the anise-flavoured aper­i­tif from the south of France - and big, fat jumbo shrimp in the shell com­ple­ment each other.

Ri­card is the pastis brand most com­monly avail­able in the states, but if you can’t find it, you can use its cook­ing cousin, Pernod. Pernod is a use­ful kitchen sta­ple, and is great paired with shell­fish, chicken, mush­rooms and spinach - any­thing that is good sea­soned with tar­ragon.

I leave the shrimp in the shell to pro­tect it from the heat, and be­cause much of the flavour is in the shell.

The shrimp can cook longer if left in the shell, ab­sorb­ing more of the flavours of the fra­grant sauce - plus, it is fun to peel and eat the shrimp once they are cooked.

I place the shrimp in the bot­tom of a gratin dish and pour a full-flavoured po­tion of pastis, olive oil, gar­lic, fennel seed, green pep­per­corns, tar­ragon and coarse sea salt over it.

Once the shrimp are soaked in the sauce, I place the gratin dish in a pre-heated grill or oven and let them cook for 15-20 min­utes, de­pend­ing on their size.

You’ll know when the shrimp are done when they are curled up and pink. It is bet­ter to take them out a lit­tle un­der-done than over-done.

PASTIS SHRIMP Grilling Method: in­di­rect-medium high

Serves 6

Start to fin­ish: 40 min­utes

2/3 ex­tra cup for ex­tra-vir­gin­shrimp olive oil, plus

1/4 cup pastis (ei­ther Ri­card or Pernod)

8 cloves of fresh gar­lic, grated 2 tsp fennel or anise seeds 2 tsp whole green pep­per­corns

1/4 cup chopped fresh tar­ragon, plus more for serv­ing

24-26 jumbo shrimp or tiger shrimp in the shells (the big­ger, the bet­ter, about 1.5 pounds)

2 tsp coarse sea salt Crusty baguette

If you pre­fer to cook this in­doors, pre­heat your oven to 425 de­grees Fahren­heit.

Whisk to­gether the oil, pastis, gar­lic, fennel, pep­per­corns and tar­ragon. Toss the cleaned and dry shrimp in a bowl with a lit­tle oil and the salt. Lay the shrimp in one layer in a shal­low gratin dish or casse­role (a Pyrex is fine). Pour the pastis mix­ture evenly over the shrimp. Place the gratin dish in the cen­tre of the cook­ing grate (or in your oven) and cook about 15-20 min­utes, turn­ing the shrimp over once half­way through the cook­ing time. Take the dish out of the grill or oven as soon as the shrimp are done.

You know they are done when they are pink, their tails are curled and they are just cooked through. Do not over­cook them.

Serve the dish fam­ily style on a ta­ble spread with news­pa­pers or some­thing that washes eas­ily - this dish can get messy!

And don’t for­get to sop up the sauce with a crusty baguette.

Nu­tri­tional in­for­ma­tion: 225 calo­ries; 172 calo­ries from fat; 19 g fat (3 g sat­u­rated; 0 g trans fats); 35 mg choles­terol; 495 mg sodium; 5 g car­bo­hy­drate; 0 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 4 g pro­tein.

ED­I­TOR’S NOTE: Elizabeth Karmel is a bar­be­cue and South­ern foods ex­pert. She is the chef and pit mas­ter at on­line re­tailer Caroli­naCueToGo. com and the au­thor of three books, in­clud­ing “Tam­ing the Flame.”

AP PHOTO

Serve pastis shrimp hot-off-the-grill in the gratin dish and soak up the sauce with a loaf of crusty French bread. This dish is from a recipe by Elizabeth Karmel.

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