Ale-Poached Shrimp with Saffron Sauce
- TOTAL TIME: 45 MIN
- SERVINGS: 4
Here, Luca Cerato poaches shrimp in the juniper-and-chamomile-spiced Belgian-style blond ale made by the CitaBiunda brewery. The shrimp are so richly flavored and delicious that they need little enhancement beyond the blanched asparagus and simple saffron-cream sauce he serves with them. (They would also be great served chilled, with cocktail sauce.)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups vegetable stock or low-sodium broth
- Pinch of saffron threads
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Two 12-ounce bottles Belgian-style blond ale, such as Leffe
- 1 1/4 pounds shelled and deveined large shrimp, tails left on
- 1 pound thick asparagus—woody ends trimmed, tips halved lengthwise and stalks thinly sliced crosswise
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter in the extra-virgin olive oil. Add the scallions and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the heavy cream, vegetable stock and saffron and bring just to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced to 1 3/4 cups, about 15 minutes. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a small saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Keep the saffron sauce warm over low heat, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, in a large, deep saucepan, bring the ale just to a simmer. Add the shrimp and poach over moderate heat until they are just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a plate, pat dry and season with salt and pepper.
- In a medium saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch the asparagus pieces until they are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the asparagus to paper towels to drain.
- Spoon the saffron sauce into shallow bowls, top with the blanched asparagus and poached shrimp and serve.
The saffron sauce can be refrigerated overnight and gently reheated before serving; add a little water or vegetable stock, if necessary.
A blond ale like CitaBiunda’s Mary or Leffe from Belgium (which is exported to the US) would be delicious with this dish.