You know when you go to a restaurant and nothing pops out at you? That was how I felt today in class. Cauliflower soup is OK... Shrimp Bisque is OK....
However, both actually turned out delicious and I HATE shrimp.
There is really only one thing in culinary school that doesn't get me very excited. (Besides waking up early, washing dishes, and that feeling that I get every time I squeeze into my skinny jeans and they are just a little bit tighter....)
Look, I love white fish. I love lobster. I can do sushi (not looking forward to making it, though....)
However.... peeling shrimp and shucking oysters? Please. This is another one of those times when I would rather say " There's this great new restaurant down the street. Let's go and you can order that and I will order steak." I am just not a fan. No shrimp. No scallops. No clams. Nothing chewy. Nothing fishy. Nothing that resembles something I might step on in the ocean. No, thank you. Period.
I had to peel and de-vein shrimp in class today.
I wore gloves.
Yes, I was that girl.
Fish Fumet (recipe in earlier post)
1 pound small shrimps with shells
Burnt brandy (FLAMBE!)
Salt and Pepper
That's a lot of ingredients.
Put on gloves. Take a deep breath and tell yourself you are not 8 years old. Clean shrimp. Peel. De-vein. Let out a sigh of relief.
Rather than discarding the shrimp shells, put them in the fish stock. Most of the flavor in crustaceans is actually in the shells... so this will give them some time to simmer in the stock and make it extra flavorful.
Make a fish veloute using a blond roux. Veloute is a base sauce composed of roux and fish stock or fish fumet.
Begin to caramelize onions and carrots over medium heat in butter and oil. Using a combination of butter and oil raises the smoke point of the butter, but you still get all of the flavor. (Thank you, Julia Child.)
'Pince' with tomato paste. To 'pince' is to scrape all of the 'suc' or brown "stuff" off the bottom on the pan with a tomato product (in most cases- tomato paste.) This recipe is really not shy on the French terms so far.....
Add bouquet garni. (bay leaf, thyme, parsley stems)
Add brandy and FLAMBE.
K. Let's take a second to discuss how much fun it is to set things on fire. At our station- we set a lot of things on fire. Parchment paper (opps...) Towels (Amanda) Plastic cups (Julia....) Yes.
But when you are actually supposed to set things on fire- it's a blast.
Alcohol is flammable. When you burn the liquid, the alcohol actually burns off and you are left with wonderful, condensed flavors. Flambeing brandy leaves you with flavorful notes of orange and vanilla.
So. Remove pan from heat. Add brandy and put the pan back on the heat. Step back. Let Brandy cook down to almost dry and then add white wine. Cook down. Remove shrimps and set them aside. Add about a quart of fish veloute. If your soup is still a little thick you can add more fish stock to thin it out. Bring to a simmer. Once you have reached the proper consistency, strain. Bring back up to a slow simmer.
Chop the shrimps. These will be used just as a garnish. I kept one of mine whole and then chopped up the rest.
Take soup off heat. Finish with a little bit of cream. Season with salt. Garnish.
Begin with a white roux. I still have not done a post on Roux.... I will.
Add milk, onion pique (onion stabbed with a bay leaf and cloves) and nutmeg. Bring to simmer and thicken. Add cauliflower and let simmer (very slowly) until the cauliflower is tender.
Do not boil- it will scald the milk. You may need to add more milk as the soup cooks to keep it from becoming too thick. I had to do this a few times.
Once the cauliflower in tender, remove onion and bay leaf and puree. A food processor or blender will work great. If the cauliflower is undercooked you will not get a smooth soup. The finished product should be very smooth, not too thick, and no clumps.
Combine egg yolks and cream. This is called a liaison. It is a thickening agent.
Make sure your soup is VERY hot and then begin to slowly temper in the liaison to finish the soup.
Season with (a lot) of salt.
For presentation, I blanched a couple of florets of cauliflower. (Place in boiling water for about 2 minutes, until tender.) Place florets in bowl, pour in soup, and serve very hot. Easy.
I have A LOT of tupperware in my fridge at the moment.....