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Old 09-21-2013, 10:32 AM   #1
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ISO the right sauce

I'm experimenting again, probably re-inventing the wheel. The idea for a creamy, shrimp-stuffed manicotti popped into my head. Here's what I've done so far.
Ingredients:
8 oz. marscapone cheese
6 oz. large curd cottage cheese
36 pre-cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp (removed the tails)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. granulated onion powder
1 tbs. sugar
2 tbs. lemon juice

Blend all ingredients together. Correct the seasoning.

This part is made, but is very loose and creamy. I may add an egg before stuffing the shells and baking. I'm not sure yet.

What I'm looking for is something like a buerre blanc, but without the wine. We don't much care for the flavor of wine in our home. But I need a very light sauce that is buttery, smooth, creamy, and that won't overpower the delicate flavor of the filling. I'm going for sophisticated, but light and satisfying, all at the same time. I want it to be pretty as well.

I'm thinking about steaming some artichokes and making drawn butter to go with them, served as the companion side dish for the manicotti.

I know we have some extreme talent on DC. I'm hoping for 5-star flavor in this sauce and manicotti. I want to impress DW, especially after a dinner date last night that was supposed to be good, but gave us mediocre food at best. The special was a bistro steak with coconut shrimp and rice pilaf. Read that as tough eye of round with packaged rice, and overcooked, warehouse store coconut shrimp that was too sweet. I could have made hamburgers that tasted far better, at a small fraction of the cost. I think I'm done trying to find good food in this town.

Anyways, I'm hopping for something above the ordinary for tonight.
Thanks.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North

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Old 09-21-2013, 10:39 AM   #2
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"...buttery, smooth and creamy"

Sounds like Alfredo sauce to me. Leave out the parm if you like.
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Old 09-21-2013, 10:56 AM   #3
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Thanks Andy. I'm thinking cream, butter, lemon juice, salt. Maybe I'll look at derivatives of Bechemel Sauce as well, or maybe a veloute'. I'm definitely thinking French inspired.

Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 09-21-2013, 11:03 AM   #4
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I would do a Newburg sauce, with a few shrimp scattered about and top it with some browned buttered bread or cracker crumbs.
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Old 09-21-2013, 11:07 AM   #5
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If you haven't thrown out the shrimp shells yet, how about a fumet (fish stock)? I would probably season with a bit of dill. Reduce the fumet, add some butter to thicken and maybe some cream.
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Old 09-21-2013, 11:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taxlady View Post
If you haven't thrown out the shrimp shells yet, how about a fumet (fish stock)? I would probably season with a bit of dill. Reduce the fumet, add some butter to thicken and maybe some cream.
All great ideas from everyone. Sadly, I purchased ready-cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp, something I rarely do. I have no shells to make a fumet from. No fumet, now veloute' Heavy sigh.

Besides, DW isn't big on veloute', or any sauce thickened with roux, heavier sigh.

I'll make something along the lines of a buerre blanc, as Sprout suggested on the phone, or maybe the Newburg sauce. I've saved several shrimp to do a rustic chop and put into the manicotti, just to give it more substance.

Oh, and this filling tastes great. It would be a great dip, or canape topping, especially if a little Old Bay, or cayenne pepper were added. Feel free to try it, experiment with it. It may just be a great topping for linguini, with some butter added.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 09-21-2013, 11:34 AM   #7
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I like the idea of buerre blanc, adding in some capers.
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Old 09-21-2013, 11:47 AM   #8
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Fish veloute, thickened with a mild swiss cheese.
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Old 09-21-2013, 02:23 PM   #9
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Although I do not have any new ideas, I do like PF's suggestion for the capers. Along with, perhaps, a bit of lemon zest whether or not you're using the juice.

This made me chuckle:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief Longwind Of The North View Post
...Besides, DW isn't big on veloute', or any sauce thickened with roux, heavier sigh....
Just want you to know that if you were cooking for me, based on the recipes and suggestions you post, I'd eat a poached filet of sole...as in shoe! All you poor people with picky spouses that you cook for have my undying sympathy...and complete and total envy.
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Old 09-21-2013, 07:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooking Goddess View Post
Although I do not have any new ideas, I do like PF's suggestion for the capers. Along with, perhaps, a bit of lemon zest whether or not you're using the juice.

This made me chuckle:

Just want you to know that if you were cooking for me, based on the recipes and suggestions you post, I'd eat a poached filet of sole...as in shoe! All you poor people with picky spouses that you cook for have my undying sympathy...and complete and total envy.
My second husband would eat anything I made and thought everything was a culinary delight. But there was one thing he made clear. No powdered eggs!!! He got enough of them in the service out on maneuvers. Then when we moved to Texas, I was given some powdered eggs. What in the world was I going to do with them? I had to hide them. Then one day I made up a batch and used it for French Toast. He thought it was the best French Toast her ever had. Voila! I had conquered the world. I never told him the truth. Oh what a deceptive wife he had.
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:03 PM   #11
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Here's what it all looked like when it was done.
Oh, and the sauce was a simple butter/lemon sauce with cream, thickened with egg yolk. It worked very well. My only disappointment was that the texture was almost mushy with the shrimp blended into the cheeses, even with the egg mixed in before baking. I purchased a can of Chicken of the Sea lump crab. When I opened it, it contained a few small lumps, and a lot of crab mush. That crab was supposed to give me some interesting texture. Fortunately, I had saved some of the shrimp to cut into pieces. That helped a bit.

Overall, the flavor was very good. I need to work on the texture though. Oh well, that's what happens when you create something new, without using a recipe.

DW liked the flavor, but was turned off completely by the texture. Maybe I should have added fried bacon.

Ingredients:
6 tbs. marscapone cheese
4 tbs. cottage cheese
36 shrimp
4 oz. canned crab meat
1 tbs sugar
2 tbs. lemon juice1/2 onion, minced
1 large egg
6 cooked manicotti shells
1 tsp. butter (to butter the baking dish)

Combine half of the shrimp, the cheese, lemon juice, egg, onion, and sugar in a blender until smooth. Boil the manicotti shells for 7 minutes.

Dice the unused shrimp. Mix into the rest of the filling ingredients. Fill pasta shells and place in a buttered casserole dish. Cover with any leftover filling. Place in a 350' F oven for 45 minutes.

While the pasta is baking, make your favorite sides, and the butter/cream/lemon sauce. Make the sauce 5 minutes before the pasta is done.

Serve hot with sauce drizzled over the pasta.
Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 09-22-2013, 02:41 AM   #12
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Looks fantastic!

If you are looking for a sturdier texture maybe a bread based fish stuffing mixture or a crab cake recipe would be a good place to start. Then you could load it up with shrimp and maybe maybe a little mild cheese that would telegraph when you try to take a forkful.

It looks like it is definitely worth perfecting, good luck Chief!
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Old 09-22-2013, 07:42 AM   #13
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I like the crab cake idea, subbing in the chopped shrimp and lemon for liquid. Yum, I may have to try this.

Looks great Chief!!!
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Old 09-22-2013, 05:21 PM   #14
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I had two leftover manicotti and so, as DW didn't really care for them, I sprinkled some Old Bay on top, squeezed on more lemon-butter sauce, and heated them in the microwave. They were much better. The sauce really worked well. I agree that the way to firm them would be to use maybe some breadcrumbs and egg, and use chopped shrimp and crab meat. I think they would have benefited from a sprinkling of panko bread crumbs on top, seasoned with Old Bay.

But this first attempt wasn't bad at all. Also, the microwave dried out the filling just a bit, which improved the texture, and concentrated the shrimp and crab flavors.

So, let's review; chunkier and drier filling, keep the butter-lemon sauce, add Old Bay for color and flavor, Sprinkle on some panko bread crumbs.

You know what might be even better? I'm thinking this would make an incredible ravioli, especially with the crab/shrimp cake filling. Add a bit of freshly grated Parmigiano Regiano on top when served. Cook the raviolis until tender, then saute' in brown butter and lemon. Now that sounds yummy.

One of you who have access to good lump crab has to try this and let me know how it works.

Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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