Every once in a while you have to go back through some of the treasures in a cookbook library. I think I've told you one of my favorite "Sunday morning reads" is my mother's 1943 version of The Joy of Cooking. How things have changed and yet so much is the same. Trust me, if you read recipes in that book, you'll see that there's truly not much that is original in this world. Well I dusted off the shelves recently and rediscovered the 60-Minute Gourmet books by Pierre Franey - does any one else remember him? These books were, and are, good for simple meals, easy to prepare and with lots of flavor. That's what we want and that hasn't changed over the years.
We had a half pound of large shrimp in the fridge and Peter couldn't decide what to do with them, so I tossed Franey's books to him and said "Take a look". He came across Crevettes Jardinière (Shrimp and vegetables cognac), decided on a couple of substitutions, and set about making lunch. With a romaine/watercress salad with Lemon "Vinaigrette", the shrimp were a delicious lunch.
Shrimp and Vegetables Cognac
1½ pounds raw shrimp
3-5 tablespoons butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
5 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup sweet pepper, red or green, cut into thin julienne strips (or 4 roasted red peppers from a jar)
2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
3 tablespoons cognac
½ cup heavy cream (or 0% yogurt)
- Peel and devein shrimp. Rinse well in cold water and pat dry.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet; add shrimp. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring the shrimp over high heat so they are cooked evenly, for about 2 minutes. Cook only utyil the shrimp turn pink and lose their raw look.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp to a bowl. Add one more tablespoon butter to the skillet and add shallots. Cook briefly, stirring.
- Add the celery, pepper strips, and mushrooms. Cook about 2 minutes.
- Sprinkle with cognac and add the cream/yogurt. Bring to a boil. Add any liquid that has accumulated from the shrimp. Cook about 30 seconds and add the shrimp. Cook until the shrimp are thoroughly heated. Swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter (or not).