Saturday, September 17, 2011

Shrimp Consomme, Oriental Style

Shrimp Consomme, Oriental Style

250g cod fillet
2 cups spinach leaves
2 lb raw shrimps
2 sprigs of thyme
1/2 chicken (any parts, for stock)
any white fish bones (optional, for stock
2 leeks
2 celery stalks
2 bay leaves
1" piece of ginger
1 tbsp olive oil
4 egg whites and egg shells (for clearing consomme)
4 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 lemon grass

1. For the stock, put chicken, thyme, leeks, celery, lemon grass and chopped ginger in a large stockpot with 2.5 litres water and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 2 hours.
2. Meanwhile peel the raw shrimp reserving the heads and shells. Cover the shrimp and chill until required.
3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the raw shrimp heads and shells (and any white fish bones you have managed to get) over a medium-high heat for 3–4 minutes. Add 2 tbsp of the soy sauce and cook for a further minute.
4. Spoon a little of the chicken stock into the pan to deglaze then add all the contents of the pan to the chicken stockpot and simmer uncovered for a further 45 minutes.
5. Leave to cool then strain through a sieve. Stir in the fish sauce to taste and return to the cleaned stockpot.
6. At this stage you will have a cloudy broth which needs to be cleared. To do this whisk the egg whites lightly then add to the broth with the crushed egg shells. Set over gentle heat and whisk continuously to form a foam while the broth warms. Stop whisking and allow the broth to just come to a simmer and the foam to rise in the pan and form raft. Let it boil very gently for about 15 minutes - raft will harden and hole in a raft will form. Switch off the heat and leave to settle for 5 minutes.
7. Line a large sieve set over a bowl with muslin. Through the hole in a raft  carefully spoon the broth into the sieve allowing it to drip through. Leave to cool and then cover and chill until required.
8. When ready to serve, warm the broth gently and warm the soup plates. While the broth is warming, halve the raw shrimp and remove the thin line of intestine from each one. Cut the fish into 16 thin slices.
Pouch shrimp and fish pieces in a shallow pan with boiling water untill cooked (about 5-7 minutes).
9. Arrange the fish, shrimp and spinach leaves on a plate. Now add a couple of ladlefuls of stock. Decorate with fresh thyme leaves and sprinkle with hot red chili pepper flakes. Serve at once.

This recipe is adapted from

Here is my consomme story in pictures

Raw shrimps just brought from chinese shop, the only place around where I can get lemon grass. Lemon grass is something that I wanted to try to cook with for a long time.

 I just coul not resist temptation to cook couple whole shrimps along with shrimp 'carcasses' on a skillet to it as is - fresh, 'nakedly' cooked without any spices and side flavors. Of course, those where eaten  righ away as 'mid-track' reward during lengthy consomme making process. 

 Shrimps are added to chicken and vegie stock to make it even better. Did I mention that I didn't throw chicken meat as I did with vegetables after stock preparation? I fed chicken up to my home carnivors to stop any complains about ".. are you done with cooking yet".

Here is this intriguing consomme 'raft'.

 Final product - looks lovely (as it tasted too!). I didn't bother to get rid of some fat specks on a surface, in my opinion those orange dots just have added to the beauty of a whole thing.

One, two, three.. everybody.. it's dinner time!

After all consomme experiense, I swear (should I?) that I will never do consomme again. Despite the fact that end product was superb, whole consomme theory has two major flows for me :
- throwing away tons of good-for-you fiber down the drain
- time consuming elaborate process

Though I have to give a big thank you to Peta who chose this unconventional dish for challenge. That was great adventure. Without this challenge word 'consomme' would stay for me as something 'behind the curtains', fancy and undoable. I guess consomme preparation is something that real cook must to go through in order to cook effortnesslessly (got it?) in a future.

Blog-checking lines: Peta, of the blog Peta Eats, was our lovely hostess for the Daring Cook’s September 2011 challenge, “Stock to Soup to Consomm√©”. We were taught the meaning between the three dishes, how to make a crystal clear Consomm√© if we so chose to do so, and encouraged to share our own delicious soup recipes!