Saturday, I took a road trip out to Titusville on Florida’s east coast to pick up several pounds of stone crab claws. These are going to a friend’s house on Sunday to help celebrate the arrival of fall weather in Florida heralded by the stone crab season beginning in mid-October.
My destination in Titusville was Wild Ocean Seafood which is located on the docks at Canaveral Inlet and in a downtown Titusville retail market. Wild Ocean is known for sustainable, locally caught seafood.
Not content to leave with just crab, I picked up three large, head-on Florida brown shrimp for my dinner and a smoked mullet for breakfast the next day. More about the stone crabs later. This article is about the “Brownies”.
About a week before, I stumbled across Episode #1210 of Simply Ming where the chef was sautéing large head on shrimp in garlic and black pepper. I was intrigued and as I watched the preparation of Ming Tsai’s “Shrimp with Garlic, Black Pepper, Champagne Sauce” I mentally filed away the recipe in my mind.
The large brown shrimp I picked up at Wild Ocean were just the incentive I needed to try out of Ming’s recipe. At its most basic, this recipe is a simple sauté with a pan sauce enriched with cold butter. The dish is served with ditalini. A pasta shaped in small tubes like a short macaroni. The brilliance of this recipe and what gives it outstanding flavor are the use of garlic with black pepper in the sauté and a combination of wine, chicken broth, Asian fish sauce and butter in the pan sauce.
This version of the dish closely follows Ming’s recipe but has been scaled back to serve two – One Old Stove style. It is a little ambitious for a weeknight, but the dish is a perfect weekend dinner served with a cold, crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Buon appetito!
- 2 cups Ditalini pasta
- 4 to 6 (depending on size) large (U-10) shrimp, preferably head-on
- Everyday Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 4 large cloves of garlic thinly sliced
- 2 generous tablespoons of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup sparkling wine (Prosecco was used here and a still white wine can be substituted)
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce (Nước Mắm in Vietnamese markets)
- 3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
- Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
- Chopped parsley for garnish
- Cook the ditalini in salted, boiling water until almost done. About 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Clean and devein the shrimp leaving the shells and heads on
- Add olive oil to a medium hot skillet. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the sliced garlic and cook for 1 minute before adding the black pepper. Add the shrimp and sauté until done turning the shrimp as you go. When the shrimp is pink and translucent remove from the pan to drain on a paper towel and set aside.
- Deglaze the pan with the wine and cook on medium high heat until the wine reduces to 1/2 it volume. Add chicken broth and fish sauce. Bring to a simmer. Cut the cold butter into cubes before adding to the sauce and swirl to combine.
- Add reserved pasta to the pan and cook for about 1 minute before returning shrimp to the pan. Add lemon zest and juice and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the shrimp are warmed through.
- Adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve in a shallow bowl garnished with chopped parsley if desired.