Butter poached shrimp with a Feta cheese butter sauce served with parsley salad, pickled beets and grapefruit segments

Main Article:

Succulent seafood at Bon Vivant

(Serves 12)

For the butter shrimp
36 shrimp (preferably wild-caught rather than farmed)
3lbs butter
Salt to taste

For the Feta Cheese butter sauce
1 ½ cups white wine or champagne vinegar
1 ½ cups dry white wine
½ shallot sliced
½ teaspoon peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 garlic clove
A sprig of tarragon
2 to 3 tablespoons of heavy cream
½ to 2/3 lb butter
Feta cheese to taste
Salt and pepper

For the parsley salad
2 cups washed and chopped parsley
1 cup diced tomato
¾ cup diced cucumber
1/3 cup finely diced shallots
Extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice to taste

For the pickled beets
1 lb cooked peeled beets cut into batons
1 and ½ cups white wine vinegar
½ cup water
Salt and sugar to taste
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
6 sliced shallots

How to cook:

For the butter shrimp
Season the shrimp well with salt. Chef John says, “You should not be afraid to season dishes well during cooking as the salt will reduce during the cooking period.” Chef John prefers to use coarse sea salt in his cooking and simply grinds the salt down if the dish requires a finer grain, as with this dish. Melt butter gently in a large heavy frying pan. When the butter has melted, carefully add the shrimp. Using wild shrimp rather than farmed gives an added dimension to the dish, as Chef John explained, “There is a deliciously soft texture to wild shrimp, akin to lobster meat. The flesh is sweet and succulent.” Once the shrimp turn pink turn over and cook the other side. Be careful not to boil the butter and don’t over cook the shrimp, as both will toughen the flesh of the shrimp.    

For the Feta cheese butter sauce
Add all the ingredients into a saucepan except the heavy cream and the butter. Once the mixture has reduced by three quarters over a moderate heat add the heavy cream and whisk in to emulsify. Then add the butter, continue to whisk. Finally add Feta cheese to taste and season with salt and pepper.

Parsley Salad
Chef John calls this salad his take on tabbouleh, a popular Middle Eastern salad made with bulgar/cracked wheat. Simply combine all the ingredients together.

For the pickled beets
Another simple dish, this time just combine all ingredients and let steep for 12 hours.

To assemble
Place a portion of the pickled beets, parsley salad and two grapefruit segments on the plate. Carefully lay a few shrimp on top and drizzle with the Feta cheese butter sauce. Enjoy!

To drink:
Tortuga Liquors provided the wines for the event, with a white and a red from New Zealand’s Kim Crawford estates. 
The 2007 unoaked Chardonnay, made from grapes from selected vineyards in Gisborne, was a testament to a favourable year for this particular wine. Lots of apricots, pears and peaches on the nose and palate, this Chardonnay was a perfect match for the shrimp dish.

Meanwhile the 2007 Marlborough Pinot Noir also gave a lovely fruity aroma and hints of oak on the palate as well. Although it went nicely with the shrimp, this wine came into its own with the second dish of the evening, a fabulous grilled tuna with a Illy red eyed mocha sauce, served with a sweet potato puree. More on that dish next month!


Chef John in action