Soup of Shrimp Heads, Seared Gulf Shrimp, Tokyo Turnip, Spinach, Potato, Fennel, Piment D'Esplette
I probably wouldn't go this far in my affinity for shrimp heads. If you don't like them I'll still like you, I might not completely understand your frame of mind, but I'll still like you. And I'll be one step closer than you to becoming friends with Anthony Bourdain.
I would place shrimp heads into the same category as chicken skin, pork fat, innards and bones. All things that silly people choose to discard, either out of fear or complete ignorance. You see, the contents of a shrimp's head is one of the many culinary wonders of nature. This is an animal that comes to you with a pre-made sauce inside of it. It is an amazing combination of sweet, savory and salty that is next to impossible to replicate. There are no other edible creatures that I know of that can make this claim. It would be like tipping over a cow's head and having a Bearnaise flow out of it. If you enjoy eating shrimp but have never sucked on one of their heads, do yourself a favor.
After detaching a bunch of shrimp heads to make this DISH, I tossed them into a sauce pan with oil, onion and garlic. I seared the heads until they turned bright red and their contents began to drip out. I then added some sherry vinegar, clam juice and chicken stock. I left this to simmer for 30 minutes before straining through a chinoise, making sure to squeeze out all of the delicious juice from the heads. I returned the liquid to the pan and seasoned with salt and pepper.
I added the potato, fennel and turnip to the soup and allowed them to cook until fork tender. I added the spinach at the last minute. This further flavored the soup and thickened it up a little bit.
I peeled the middle section of the rest of the shrimp, tossed them in grapeseed oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. I seared the shrimp on high heat applying some pressure to the head to make sure it cooked evenly. I removed the shrimp just before they were fully cooked through. They continue to cook once they are removed from the heat. I placed the shrimp on top of a piece of potato to elevate it and sprinkled the rim of the bowl with the Piment.
Gulf Tiger Shrimp - Ippolito's
Organic Baby Fennel - Culton Organics
Organic Piment - Culton Organics
Organic Tokyo Turnips - Weaver's Way