Ham Baked in Beer
Table Talk with Michael Pollan of The Omnivore’s Dilemma Tenth Anniversary Edition |
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- 2 lb. shrimp, cleaned
- 2 beers - I prefer a Canadian lager
- 4 Tb butter
- 4 Tb flour
- 4 C heavy cream
- cayenne, salt & white pepper to taste
- Fresh parsley if you like; the color perks up this very white dish
- Hot crusty french bread.
Shrimp in a cream sauce that is flavored with reduced beer. A completely unique flavor that is addictive as hell. I have made this for 20 years now, and everyone who has ever eaten it was hooked. Serve the shrimp w/ hot french bread for sopping the sauce. When you first make this it’ll look like there’s not enough food in the sauce, the second time you make it, you’ll be plotting to have extra sauce. The flavor of the beer you choose will have a dramatic effect on this dish, so the first time you make it, choose a nice lager or pale ale; I seem to go for the Canadian beers for this. You can go darker later, but remember you are reducing 2 beers down to 1/2 – 3/4 cup, so that is some concentrated flavor, and the protein here is delicate in flavor. If it makes you feel more comfortable, add the cream to the roux first and then pour in your reduced beer by 3rds so you don’t get more beer flavor than you like. I really tried to get the measurements down right as I don’t measure when I make this… Pretty hard to screw it up though, I think.
- 1Pour the 2 beers into a heavy sauce pan, bring it to a boil and cook your shrimp in the beer till they’re pink and firm. Scoop out the shrimp and set them aside to cool as quickly as possible. Keep the beer over medium heat and reduce it to 1/2 to
3/4 cup. Don’t boil it dry!
- 2Pour your reduced beer into a bowl and set aside. Use a spatula to get it all! Rinse your pan and wipe it dry w/ a paper towel. Put the pan back on the fire and drop in your butter. When it melts add your flour and make a roux. Do not try to make a dark roux, keep the color light for this dish.
- 3When your roux’s cooked for a minute or two, pull the pan from the heat & whisk in the beer & cream. Put the pan back on med heat and bring to a boil. As the sauce thickens, season it with salt, white pepper and cayenne to taste.
- 4I let my sauce simmer uncovered on med-low while the bread is heating, wrapped in foil, in a 400 degree oven. 15 minutes or thereabout.
- 5Drop in the shrimp and let them heat through (doesn’t take more than a couple minutes), ladle into shallow bowls. Add fresh chopped parsley if you like & serve with the french fread and ice cold beer.