Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Shrimp de Jonghe (Page 326)


  • Date: Sunday, November 30, 2008 -- 8pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: C

My special gentleman is a big fan of shrimp, so I made this last week before he left town. This recipe was a disappointment. It sounded so promising. We blanched some shrimp, then put them in a single layer in a baking dish. We topped them with a mixture of butter, garlic, salt, sherry, bread crumbs, parsley, and pepper. Then we sprinkled the whole thing with almonds and baked it until the shrimp were just cooked through. You are probably thinking to yourself, "How could that possibly be bad?" You would especially wonder that if I told you there was a whole stick of butter in that topping. Yum, right? But, no. Obviously the flavor was good -- all those things taste good and they taste good together. So where did it go awry? The texture. Crazy, huh? Instead of being delicious and crispy as breadcrumbs should be, the topping was soggy. Very gross. We took it out of the oven when the shrimp were cooked through and the topping was incredibly mushy. It was so gross that we added an extra step at the end of the recipe: we threw it under the broiler for a couple minutes. Of course that meant the shrimp were a bit overcooked, but it would have been worth it for crispy topping. Sadly, although the broiler made the very top of it a little crisp, but right under that there was sogginess. I am sure this was not what the recipe intended. But I followed the directions exactly and that's what I ended up with. My special gentleman carefully scraped all the topping off of each shrimp before eating it. I just ate canned soup for dinner instead. This recipe: not a winner.

Here is the recipe.

My special gentleman and I dated for about a year before I moved away to Indiana. When we started dating (in Boston) we knew that I would finish my PhD and leave a year later, and he would be staying in Boston to finish his postdoc at MIT. At the beginning I don't think either of us really thought we would stay together when I left, but when the time came it was clear we had a good thing going. There was no way we were going to give it up just because of a 1000 measly miles between us. We made a rule when I left that we would never go more than 18 days in a row without seeing each other. The number wasn't totally arbitrary. We were doing a lot of weekend visits that semester, and that is the number of days between visits if you see each other every third weekend. When we came up with this 18 day rule, a lot of my friends laughed at me. I think the laughing was one part, "Oh my God, she's crazy," and one part, "They will never pull that off." Yes, I am crazy, but we also have pulled it off. Now, 16 months later, I can happily say that we haven't ever gone more than 18 days without seeing each other. So, yes, we have traveled a lot. And yes, the traveling sometimes got tiring. But it was totally worth it. Long distance isn't always easy, but it also hasn't been nearly as hard as I thought it would be. Part of that, I think, is knowing that it can never be more than 18 days. My special gentleman is away in Boston now, but I am happy (really, ecstatic!) to say that this is his last period of time living in Boston. He will be in Indiana in a few days, and he will officially live here for the next 8 months! Yay for that!

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