Friday, July 31, 2009

Day 134 - Shrimp Boil, Fresh Cocktail Sauce, and Green Goddess Dressing

David came over tonight to watch the So You Think You Can Dance? results show. Yes, we're voting in a pool for that show, too. I'm completely out of the running, but David was in a top position. Until tonight... :-(

Since tonight wasn't one of David's legendary cheat meals, I knew he'd be very picky about what he'd be willing to eat, and shrimp, so low in fat and so high in protein, is safe. The sauces are another story....

Shrimp Boil (p. 243)

I don't think I've ever cooked raw shrimp before! I've bought packages of frozen shrimp from Trader Joe's, but this was my first time handling raw shrimp.

Martha was right, they are easy to peel when they're raw, so I went ahead and did that. The water that they cook in is slightly flavored with celery, carrots, lemon, peppercorns, salt and thyme, and I'm not sure exactly how present those flavors are in the final product, but I will say that these shrimp tasted wonderful. Full of shrimp flavor, perfectly cooked, a little taste of the sea (the salt?), delicious. Not to mention, easy and quick.

Jeff: A
Martha: A

Fresh Cocktail Sauce (p. 243)

I do like a nice cocktail sauce with my shrimp. And while this sauce had an interesting flavor, it was quite different from your average cocktail sauce.

First of all, I'm not sure if it was my tomatoes, but my tomato puree showed up practically salmon colored, resulting in a very pale cocktail sauce. It wasn't nearly that red, bloody mary color that we're used to.

Secondly, Martha's measurements for Tabasco are very generous. She says 1.5 teaspoons, or to taste, which I thought meant I might want to add more. But in fact, I would have preferred less. Much less. This was waaaay too spicy for me. It overwhelmed the flavor.

Thirdly, even after letting the tomato puree drain for 10 minutes, this sauce was a little too watery for me. It wasn't thick enough to really hold onto the shrimp.

It's great to taste a fresh sauce, and all the ingredients in this sauce contributed to some bright flavors, which went well with the shrimp. But it is a bit of a distance from the cocktail sauce we all know and love.

Jeff: A
Martha: A-
(too much Tabasco)

Green Goddess Dressing (p. 359)

I think this may be my last dressing in the book! Martha mentions it goes well with boiled shrimp, so I thought this was as good a time as any....

Yum! This positively drips with herbs, and it's delicious. There's a fair amount of chopping to do, and I didn't do it in the food processor because Martha says "finely chopped" and to me, that means by hand.

There are many flavors in here, but interestingly, the one that really pops is the tarragon. I thought the anchovies would be prominent, but I can't even find them in the big picture.

The color of the dressing is beautiful: a pale, pale, bright green. And Martha's right: this does taste great with boiled shrimp. Mmmmmmmm.

Jeff: A
Martha: A

Until we eat again....

David with the shrimp and sauces (there's no white stuff in the cocktail sauce - that's the glare from the flash bouncing off the oil on the surface...)

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