Thursday, November 24, 2011

Crevettes Paula

I decided, rather than the more traditional soup, I would serve some kind of shellfish as an appetizer. Why not? The Pilgrims learned to catch shellfish from their Indian sponsors. Besides, I don't think there remains a single Thanksgiving-y soup left uncooked. We had pumpkin soup for Thanksgiving in 1987, corn soup in 1994, turnip and potato soup in 2004, and cream of spinach in 1991. The turnip and potato soup inspired the terrific line from my son, after he suspiciously asked me what was in it, and I stoutly told him it was potato soup, he said, "I'm not not going to eat it." Meaning, he was going to eat it.
So on Wednesday night, after my daughter picked me up from school at 5:00, rescuing me from the clutches of Miguel and Anthony, the tutoring kids, we went off to the seafood market to buy shrimp. I made the mistake of asking the seafood market how much I needed. If you remember the lobster rolls of May 2010, the seafood market has a habit of, shall we say, making sure that the consumer won't run out of what ever it is they are making. They sold me two and a quarter pounds, all they had left. Considering that Crevettes Paula came at the beginning of a heavy meal with a lot of side dishes, I think one pound would have been plenty.
The recipe calls for a cup of shrimp to serve three people. I think each person had at least a cup of shrimp, maybe more. So after I put the rolls in the refrigerator to rise, I began shelling shrimp. And shelling shrimp. And shelling shrimp. Shelling shrimp can be time consuming.
I cooked the shrimp according to directions in The Joy of Cooking, which says to boil them three to four minutes, or before they begin to curl up.
Mrs. Joy has a formula for figuring out how much shrimp in the shell translates to how much cooked shrimp. According to her, 2 to 2 1/2 pounds of fresh shrimp turns into one pound of cooked shrimp, or two cups. I should have read her first.
After I boiled the shrimp, I made the mayonnaise. My rule is, make mayonnaise in the blender. It comes out better. However, this said to make it with a mixer in a bowl, so I did. It was thin. However, no one complained. So I mixed the mayonnaise and the other ingredients, tossed it with the freshly cooked shrimp and stuck it in the refrigerator. Everyone seemed to like it except for daughter-in-law, who, after all, had just come from Thanksgiving dinner at her mother's, and maybe decided that she could skip the appetizer. A sensible approach.

Crevettes Paula

1 cup homemade mayonnaise
1 teaspoon finely grated onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon catchup
1 tablespoon cognac
1 cup cooked, shelled and deveined shrimp
lettuce cups

Combine the mayonnaise, onion, garlic, catchup and cognac in a bowl. Add the shrimp, toss and chill. Serve in lettuce cups. Makes three servings.

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