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Old 02-16-2009, 02:33 AM   #1
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Cart before the horse - change sequences in cooking?

Is there a set sequence of preparation that one should ALWAYS follow, or are there times to take liberty with when items are combined? Case in point: I wanted to make a white shrimp sauce to go over angel hair pasta. Well instead of starting with the development of the white sauce I started with sauteing shallots and garlic in EVOO. When the shallots were about caramelized I added the thawed precooked shrimp to the pan. I allowed the shrimp to come up in temperature THEN I added one TBL spoon of butter and one TBL spoon of flour to the shrimp and shallots and cooked for just a minute or so at which point I added one cup of milk and cooked till it reach the thickness I wanted.

About half way through this process I threw the pasta into the boiling water and the two were done at the same time. I drained the pasta and plated it with the shrimp sauce family style. I thought it tasted great and so did the wife.

Was I unconventional in preparing the sauce? Is there a better way?
p.s. I did use salt and pepper and fresh basil for seasoning.

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Old 02-16-2009, 02:42 AM   #2
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Glad it tasted great, though I think you run the risk of overcooking the shrimp, I personally would add any seafood right at the end of cooking and get them up to temperature and then serve.
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Old 02-16-2009, 02:58 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miniman View Post
Glad it tasted great, though I think you run the risk of overcooking the shrimp, I personally would add any seafood right at the end of cooking and get them up to temperature and then serve.
I thought that would have been one of the misplaced steps. In my mind though I was thinking that I wanted the shrimp to pick up the flavor of the shallots, garlic and EVOO. Next time I'll add the Uncooked shrimp at the end.
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Old 02-16-2009, 10:01 AM   #4
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I've actually seen Rachel Ray prepare sauces the way you did many, many times. I believe the thought it is imparts the flavor through the sauce more evenly.

What other way would you have done it? The roux first and add the shallots and shrimp after? I prefer the method you used, it sounds just so much better.
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:00 AM   #5
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I would saute the shallots in the fat then add the flour to make a roux, whisk in the milk and cook to finish the sauce.

Then add the shrimp and cook for a minute or two-shrimp cooks very quickly. If shrimp is overcooked it gets rubbery. Add the cooked, drained pasta and simmer for a minute to get the pasta to absorb some sauce.
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:04 AM   #6
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If you want the shrimp to pick up the flavor of the shallots, maybe throw them in and saute them like you did but remove them from the pan when you're ready to make the sauce. The make your roux and sauce adding back in the shrimp towards the end to bring them back up to temp.
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Old 02-16-2009, 12:04 PM   #7
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Thanks for your comments Callisto, Andy M and jabbur. I will definitely try this dish again by adding the shrimp at the end. I am having great fun learning this stuff, especially when it comes out tasting good and I don't set off the smoke alarm.

What combination of spices would you suggest I try for making this a better sauce?
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Old 02-16-2009, 12:12 PM   #8
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Nutmeg always seems to enhance white sauce. I've seen most of the FN chefs use nutmeg in white sauce.

I had to laugh at the smoke detector comment. Mine is so screwed up it was going off when I baked brownies and they weren't even burning. The detector was just really sensitive.
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Old 02-16-2009, 12:19 PM   #9
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As it is shrimp, you may just want to use some dill or parsley to set off the flavour.

Andy's method was what I was trying to get at - thanks for explaining it much more clearly.
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Old 02-16-2009, 01:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
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As it is shrimp, you may just want to use some dill or parsley to set off the flavour.

Andy's method was what I was trying to get at - thanks for explaining it much more clearly.
My wife loves dill so since she is my favorite fan I'll give dill a try and that will keep her happy.
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