Poached shrimp with beurre blanc and spinach

December 3, 2008
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Serves 4

Get a head start by cooking the spinach in advance; make the sauce while you poach the shrimp. Beurre blanc is a classic French butter sauce that begins with white wine and ends with lots of butter.


2 bunches (10 ounces each) fresh spinach, rinsed and stemmed
1 pound large shrimp (16 to 20), shelled
1/4 cup dry vermouth
4 cups water
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, stems only
1 slice onion
1 slice lemon
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

1.Heat a large skillet over high heat. When it is hot, add the spinach and cook, stirring constantly, until the spinach wilts. Set a colander over a bowl. Tip the spinach into it; rinse the spinach with cold water until it is cool. With your hands, squeeze out the water. Chop the spinach coarsely; set aside.

2. In a bowl, toss the shrimp and vermouth.

3. In a saucepan, combine the water, bay leaves, parsley stems, onion, lemon, garlic, salt, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer the liquid for 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and vermouth to the liquid. Return to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and set aside for 3 to 5 minutes or until the shrimp are cooked through. Meanwhile, make the beurre blanc.


1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon whipping cream
Sea salt and white pepper, to taste
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
2 tablespoons extra butter (for spinach)

1. In a small saucepan, combine the wine, shallots, and vinegar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, lower the heat and boil gently until the mixture is reduced to about 3 tablespoons.

2. Strain the mixture into a small, clean saucepan, pressing on the shallots to extract the liquid. You should have about 2 tablespoons. Stir in the cream, salt, and pepper.

3. Place the pan over very low heat and slowly whisk in the butter, thoroughly incorporating each piece before adding another. While whisking, keep the sauce warm, not hot, so that the mixture emulsifies without melting. When all the butter is incorporated, taste it and add more salt and pepper, if you like.

4. In a skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Toss the spinach with salt and pepper. When it is hot, divide it among 4 warm plates. Drain the shrimp and place them on the spinach, then add sauce. Adapted from "Fat"


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