AMERICAN TABLE: Pastis Shrimp
That is my French-flavored version of peel ‘n’ eat shrimp. The sauce is yummy and warrants a whole baguette only for sopping up!
It’s one of those summertime dishes that I make frequently for friends and family. The dish pays homage to one of my favourite places in the world, the South of France, in which pastis was first born.
The flavors of pastis — that the anise-flavored aperitif in the south of France — and large, fat jumbo shrimp in the shell match each other.
Ricard is your pastis brand most commonly available from the countries, but if you can’t locate it, then you can use its own cooking uncle, Pernod. Pernod is a helpful kitchen staple, which can be great paired with poultry, shellfish, mushrooms and mushrooms — anything that is good seasoned with tarragon.
I leave the fish in the casing to protect it in the heat, and because a lot of the taste is at the casing. The fish can cook longer if left at the shell, absorbing all the flavors of the fragrant sauce — plus, it’s enjoyable to peel and consume the fish when they are cooked.
I put the shrimp at the bottom of a gratin dish and pour out a full-flavored potion of pastis, olive oil, garlic, fennel seed, green peppercorns, tarragon and rough sea salt over it. When the fish are soaked in the sauce, then I put the gratin dish at a pre-heated grill or oven, and then let them cook for 15-20 minutes, according to their size. You’ll understand if the fish are done when they are curled up and pink. It is better to take them out a little under-done than over-done. The smell is intoxicating!
Serve the fish hot-off-the-grill from the gratin dish, and soak up the sauce with a loaf of crusty French bread.
Grilling Method: indirect-medium large
Begin to finish: 40 minutes
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for fish
1/4 cup pastis (possibly 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
24-26jumbo fish or tiger shrimp at the shells (the larger, the better, about 1.5 lb)
2 tsp coarse sea salt
If you would rather 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 just a little oil and the salt. Lay the fish in one layer in a shallow gratin dish or casserole (also a Pyrex is fine). Pour the pastis mixture evenly over the beans.
Place the gratin dish at the center of the boil (or on your toaster) and cook about 15-20 minutes, turning the fish over once halfway through the cooking time.
Take the dish out of the grill or oven when the fish are done. You know they are done when they are pink, their tails are curly and they are just cooked through. Don’t overcook them.
Serve the dish household style onto a table spread with papers or something that washes easily — that this dish can get messy!
And don’t forget to sop up the sauce with a crusty baguette.
Nutritional information: 225 calories; 172 calories in fat; 19 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 35 milligrams cholesterol; 495 milligrams sodium; 5 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 4 g protein.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Elizabeth Karmel is a grill and Southern foods expert. She’s the chef and pit master at online retailer CarolinaCueToGo.com and also the author of three novels, such as “Taming the Flame.”
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