Monday, March 24, 2014

Shrimp with Egg Yolk Sauce #ShrimpShowdown

Have you ever been to a Teppanyaki restaurant? One of the signature dishes is shrimp with a secret egg yolk sauce. It almost seems like cheese - but it's not. instead, it's a relative of mayonnaise. Or, technically, I guess it's a type of mayonnaise, since it's essentially emulsified egg yolks and oil.

Here, I decided to veer away from the Teppanyaki serving style and served the shrimp on a bed of spinach. Then I drizzled the whole thing with some extra lemon juice - lemon goes perfectly with both shrimp and spinach - and it was a very simple meal.

The secret sauce can be made in advance and refrigerated until needed, and you can peel and clean and butterfly the shrimp ahead of time, too. So when you're ready to cook, it's really fast.

To make the portioning of the sauce a little easier, I used a pastry bag, but you can dollop it on with a spoon, if you like. The sauce is really rich, so don't get carried away. Or, just eat more spinach to compensate.

Annato seeds can be found at specialty spice shops and at some ethnic markets or in the ethnic section of your grocery store. You might find the labeled at achiote seeds. Make sure you get the actual seeds and not the powder or paste. They look like little brick-red rocks and turn the oil a bright yellow-orange color.

Be careful - the oil will stain.

As far as the spinach, as much as I'm a fan of using fresh vegetables as much as possible, sometimes frozen spinach makes more sense. A bunch of spinach at the grocery store or farmer's market cooks down to nothing. A pound of frozen spinach is relatively substantial. And, it's already clean, so you don't need to deal with washing the grit off the spinach leaves. One of my least favorite kitchen tasks.

This post is sponsored by OXO and the NFI Shrimp Council. For my participation, I received a selection of OXO tools and enough shrimp for several different recipes. There's a list of participating bloggers after the recipe, and a chance to win some amazing goodies for yourself, including the same tools I received, and a $100 gift card.

Shrimp with Egg yolk Sauce

For the sauce:
1 cup mild-flavored vegetable oil
2 tablespoons annato seeds
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt
2 egg yolks

For the shrimp:
12 extra-large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and butterflied
1 tablespoon olive oil

For serving:
1 pound frozen chopped spinach, cooked
Lemon juice, as needed
Lemon wedges, for serving

To make the annatto oil:
The first step of this process is to make the annatto oil. You probably won't use the full cup of oil, but once you have it, you can use it for other purposes, so there's no problem with having extra on hand. If you don't want any extra, you can halve it - use 1/2 cup of oil and 1 tablespoon of seeds, and if you need more oil, use plain vegetable oil.

Put the oil and seeds in a small saucepan and heat gently. You don't need to boil the oil, and above all, you don't want those seeds to blacken. Just get the oil hot, stir once in a while, then turn off the heat and let the seeds steep until the oil has cooled. Strain the seeds out and keep the oil.

To make the egg yolk sauce:
Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl until they lighten in color. This step might seem frivolous, since you're not adding anything to the eggs. But trust me, if you don't beat the oil well, the oil will never emulsify. You can do this with an electric mixer or stick blender if you like.

Add the oil, a little bit at a time, whisking like crazy as you go. The oil should incorporate into the yolks and you should see it thicken.

If you add the oil too fast and the mixture separates, you can beat one more yolk separately and then add the broken mixture to the new yolk, slowly.

When you've got about 1/2 cup of oil beaten into the yolks, add the lemon juice and salt and continue whisking (at this point, I think the whisk is a better tool, so even if you started with an electric mixer, I suggest you finish by hand.

Keep whisking, and the mixture will thicken until it's almost the consistency of Velveeta. You can continue adding oil, if you like, but I preferred the higher yolk-to-egg ratio. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice, as desired.

If you're not cooking the shrimp right away, refrigerate this until needed.

The great thing about shrimp is that even if it's frozen, you're not too far away from cooking. If you didn't think about putting some in the refrigerator to thaw, just let it thaw in cold water. The bowl and strainer OXO provided was perfect for this. For a smaller amount of shrimp, the silicone steamer in any handy bowl or container works just as well. Since it's flexible, you can make it fit into whatever containers you have handy.

To finish the dish:
For a quick video on how to clean shrimp using the OXO shrimp cleaning tool, click here. Once the shrimp is deveined and peeled, butterfly them by cutting through the top side of the shrimp (the top of the curve, opposite the legs) almost all the way through, then flatten them out.

Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a saute pan that has a cover. (Meanwhile, cook the spinach, as desired. I microwaved mine until just cooked through and still bright green.)

Have the egg yolk sauce ready, along with your lemon juice (OXO provided a wooden reamer to make this task easy). Have a cup or small container on hand, with about 1/4 cup of water. You could also mix half water and half white wine, for a little extra flavor.

When the oil is hot, place the shrimp, cut-side up, in the pan, then top each with a small dollop of the egg yolk sauce (or pipe a line down the center using a pastry bag). Pour 1/4 of water into the pan and cover. Cook until the shrimp are cooked through - check after about 30 seconds - and cook just as long as you need to.

Some (or all) of the shrimp might curl a bit as they cook.

Place the shrimp on top of the spinach and drizzle with lemon juice. Serve warm with extra slices of lemon.

Want more shrimp in your life?

The following bloggers all have shrimp recipes, sponsored by OXO:

A Kitchen Addiction
A Zesty Bite
Betsy Life
Bonbon Break
Cherished Bliss
Chocolate Moosey
Coconut and Lime
Created by Diane
Everyday Maven
Foxes Love Lemons
Garnish with Lemon
Growing up Gabel
Healthy Delicious
Home Cooking Memories
Jeanette's Healthy Living
Julie's Eats and Treats
Kirbie's Cravings
Lemons for Lulu
My Man's Belly
Natasha's Kitchen
Noble Pig
Peanut Butter and Peppers
Peas and Crayons
Sarah's Cucina Bella
So How's It Taste?
Taste Love and Nourish
That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Wonky Wonderful

Still not enough shrimp?

All of the  #ShrimpShowdown posts will be featured on a shared Pinterest board on both the OXO and Eat Shrimp Pinterest pages - be sure to check them out! Also, each post will be added to a photo album on the OXO Facebook Page and the Eat Shrimp Facebook Page.

Go check them out and share your favorites with your friends and fans!

Want to enter to win?

The photo shows the tools I received, which are the same ones YOU CAN WIN. The bowl and colander set at the back comes with a lid for the bowl that's not shown in the picture.

AND - there's also a gift card, for a total value of $180. Here's the list:

Shrimp Cleaner
Flexible Kitchen & Herb Snips
Silicone Steamer
Wooden Lemon Reamer
3 Piece Bowl and Colander Set
12" Tongs with Silicone Heads
$100 Visa Gift Card from the NFI Shrimp Council

Enter with the widget below.

If it doesn't load immediately, give it it a few seconds.