30 May 2009

Shrimp (Langoustines) in Brik Dough with Basil Pesto

Here's another little bit of fun we had recently. It's a Joel Robuchon recipe (from L'Atelier de Robuchon I think - though we found the recipe in the New York Times). The recipe calls for jumbo shrimp, but the sight of amazing Scottish Langoustines in our fishmonger said otherwise. Also we had no luck with brik dough so replaced it with spring roll pastry. And here's the man himself looking ridiculously French:

It began with making a simple pesto: pureed basil, garlic and olive oil with a little fleur de sel and a touch of paprika:

Next we de-shelled the (incredible) langoustines:

Removing the stems from basil leaves to make a heart shape, we placed one leaf on each tail, then put each one face down on a triangular shaped piece of spring roll paper:

Now they just need rolling up from bottom to top nice and tight, and a cocktail stick put through them. We threw them in a deep-fryer for 30 seconds, dressed the plate with pesto and the deep fried rolls and thats it!

This really wasn't too taxing (except to bank balances), but man it really was great. I thought the pesto might be too strong for the delicate sweet taste of the langoustine, but I was plain wrong, it worked so well. The crispy texture of the pastry, the fresh taste of just-cooked langoustine, and a sprightly pesto sauce - amazing. I mean I've eaten plenty more complex and extravagant things in my time, but as far as I'm concerned this is just about as good as it gets. I'd love to do it again, but you hardly ever see fresh langoustines (unless you live on the coasts of Scotland or have the money to shop in Fortnum and Mason), so it was a real treat. I'm gonna repeat it with prawns, as the recipe suggests, and I know it'll still be great, but nothing beats fresh langoustine.

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