For many years now, we’ve decided not to fight crowds for “special” (read overpriced and overdramatic) Valentine’s Day menus, and made dinner at home. Which is why we had Steak ‘n’ Shake the night before.
Often the Valentine’s Day dinner will be lamb chops (Costco’s loin chops the shape of the Great Pyramid of Cheops are a frequent feature)… this year I said, “Wow, it’s been a long time since we’ve had Shrimp DeJonghe.” The point is that it’s a lot more romantic to serve each other.
Shrimp DeJonghe is a Chicago creation from the DeJonghe brothers’ restaurant some time around the turn of the 20th Century. It’s sort of a shrimp scampi: garlicky bread crumbs over succulent shrimp. Decadent and rich, perfect for a romantic dinner. Some versions add mustard to the bread crumbs, mistaking “Dijon” for “DeJonghe.”
While I waited for water to start boiling, I prepared salads. A nice bleu cheese (whose provenance escapes me) was crumbled atop romaine and typical salad fixin’s.
A dressing that’s basically typical Bleu Cheese Dressing except for the cheese was created to go with it: equal parts mayo and greek yogurt (still no sour cream in the house), a little milk to thin it, minced scallion (no chives right now), salt, pepper, lemon juice. Allow to sit while everything else is prepped.
The shrimp came pre-deveined (thank you, Jewel)
They were parboiled until they just turned pink, then iced to stop the cooking
then peeled, and placed in a shallow casserole.
Meanwhile, I had already created the topping, see recipe below
which was dolloped on top of the shrimp (ew, not my best photo)
and baked, then broiled to get a nice toasty brown.
(Beagle waiting hopefully for any sauce left over)
A very nice meal, accompanied by fresh bread from the grocer, and a not-very-good bottle of Pinot.
Shrimp DeJonghe for Two
3/4 pound (340g) shrimp, the bigger the better, deveined but not peeled
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 medium shallot, minced
2 tsp (10ml) fresh tarragon, minced (can use mix of tarragon, chervil, parsley, this is what I had on hand)
1/2 tsp (2.5ml) salt, plus more for boiling water
1/2 C (250ml) panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp (2.5ml) fresh ground pepper
2/3 cup (150ml) softened butter
pinch each of nutmeg and mace
large pinch of cayenne pepper
lemon wedges and crusty bread for serving
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C), place ice and water in a large bowl
- Fill a medium saucepan with salted water, bring to a boil
- Mince garlic, shallot, herbs, place together with salt, pepper and spices in a bowl
- Add butter and panko, mash together with a fork
- When water comes to a boil, add shrimp, boil for about 1.5 minutes or until just opaque and pink
- Drain immediately and add to icewater
- When well-chilled, peel and place in shallow casserole dish
- Top with dollops of the panko-butter-garlic mixture
- Place in oven for 13 minutes
- Turn on broiler for 3 minutes, watching it carefully so it doesn’t burn. It should be just barely bubbling, and golden brown when done
- Serve with lemon wedges and crusty bread
Dessert was prepared by Sue: cake crumbs mixed with ganache molded around a ganache truffle, coated with meringue. Mmm. No more hostess Sno-Balls for me.