It's been a while since I posted. Japan was a disaster, as usual. I arrived in the evening after a grueling 20-or-so hour journey, ate, went to sleep, woke up the next day, went back to sleep, woke up, ate dinner, went to sleep, woke up, packed my bag, headed for the airport and did another 20-hour journey. The only consolation was that I was in First Class from Japan to Vancouver, but the hitch was that I slept the whole time.
Today will be a week since I've been back and it's truly the first day I feel human again (it always takes about a week).
But the other day I did have the pleasure of making my new favorite dish, Shrimp Stroganoff. It was only the second time I've made it (the first was for Shelley of montrealfood.com and was a grand success) but this time was excellent as well. If you really want to blow away your friends or family you will make this! The kicker is that it's really easy. But do not substitute sour cream for crême-fraiche.
Nick's Version of Shrimp Stroganoff
1 1/2 pound frozen large raw shrimp (15/21), peeled and deveined (easy-peel is fine)
4-5 large shallots, diced finely, to equal about a cup
9-10 cloves garlic, minced, divided
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning (available from various spice manufacturers)
4 cups or more shiitake and pleurot mushrooms, stems removed, washed and sliced
Olive oil, as indicated in method
Approximately 1 1/4 cup chicken broth, divided
Approximately 1/2 cup dry white wine
Approximately 1 cup crême fraiche
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Handful chopped Italian parsley
Handful chopped fresh dill
Salt and pepper to taste
Brine the shrimp. In a microwave-safe container, combine about four tablespoons sea salt and two tablespoons sugar with half a cup of water. Heat in microwave until almost boiling. Stir to dissolve salt and sugar. Pour into bowl, add frozen shrimp.and warm water to cover. When thoroughly thawed, remove shells as necessary (tails as well), rinse and drain.
In large nonstick sauté pan, add about three tablespoons olive oil. Heat on medium until shimmering. Add shallots and sauté until translucent, about three minutes, then add about half the garlic. Sauté further about two minutes, then remove and set aside. In same pan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, remaining garlic, Cajun seasoning and red pepper flakes. Sauté one minute, then add shrimp. Spread evenly throughout the pan. Cook one minute on one side, then turn shrimp with tongs. After a further 2 or so minutes, or until pink, remove shrimp and set aside.
Add mushroom slices to pan and sauté until mushrooms have shrunken by half. Remove to bowl with shallots. Add wine and 1 cup chicken broth to pan. Cook down until reduced by half — approximately 8-10 minutes.
In separate container, mix crême fraiche with remaining chicken broth and cornstarch and combine thoroughly. When mushrooms are done, add all remaining ingredients except shrimp, parsley and dill and stir constantly until sauce coats back of a spoon.
Reduce heat to minimum; add shrimp, parsley and dill and combine well. Heat through, about three minutes. Serve immediately over white rice. Garnish with parsley.