Curried Cod in Parchment was one of our earliest blog posts. We thought it might be time to revisit the technique, giving it a Greek spin. Say hello to Shrimp in a Pouch with Lemon Mayonnaise.
This isn’t a fancy-pants recipe – it’s a quickie remedy for the usual put-something-in-a-pan-then-put-something-else-in-a-pan-now-put-something-else-in-a-pan rut. You can finish everything before the first half-hour of All Things Considered ends, and that includes whipping up a batch of homemade mayonnaise (the house record for non-professionals is about 2 minutes). A healthy clutch of potato slices in each bag obviates the need for rice. With luck the radio will be playing a story about Congressional budget negotiations while you devein the shrimp. You can sublimate your feelings, whichever side of the fence you’re on, into the pointed end of a sharp knife. While the shrimp bake, throw together a salad, set the table and, if you haven’t already, pour yourself a glass of assyrtiko.
Drink the wine while NPR talks about graduation speakers or the scandalous acceleration in tuition costs. If the latter, turn off the radio, refill your glass, pretend you’re on a beach in Santorini, and then serve dinner. Enjoy. Ken
Shrimp in a Pouch with
Makes 4 entrée servings
- 20 large shrimp
- 1 pound small waxy potatoes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bunch scallions or spring onions, washed and thinly sliced crosswise
- 3 cloves garlic–2 finely chopped, 1 grated on a microplane
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Zest and juice of 1 scrubbed lemon (about 2 tablespoons of juice)
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 hot pepper–jalapeno or serrano, thinly sliced and most seeds discarded
- 16 pitted Kalamata olives, pitted and cut into quarters
- 2 ounces feta
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- ¼ cup canola oil
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped parsley
Directions for shrimp:
- Preheat the oven to 400º.
- Peel and devein the shrimp.
- Scrub the potatoes and slice 1/8-inch thick. A mandoline makes easy work of this. Put into a bowl, season with salt and pepper. Then add the scallions, 1 of the chopped cloves of garlic and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss well.
- Arrange 4 sheets of parchment on the counter. We used parchment from a roll 15 inches wide, tearing off sheets about 18 inches long. In the center of each sheet arrange a 6-inch circle of evenly stacked potatoes. If potatoes are unevenly stacked, they won’t cook at the same rate.
- Put the shrimp in the bowl, add the other clove of chopped garlic, a tablespoon of olive oil, 2/3 of the lemon zest, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, the oregano and the hot pepper. Season lightly with salt and then give everything a good stir. Both the feta and olives (added in a minute) have a high salt content.
- Arrange 5 shrimp in a single layer on top of the potatoes. Sprinkle with olives and feta (not the parsley). Carefully pull corners together above the bundle, then pinch and twist to form a pouch. Secure the throat of each pouch with a piece of butcher’s twine. Slide the bundles on to a sheet pan and bake 15 minutes. While the bundles are baking, make the mayonnaise. Allow to rest 5 minutes. Open a bundle and check to make sure everything’s done. Open the other bundles and sprinkle all of them with parsley.
- Drizzle each serving with with the lemon mayonnaise and serve, with extra mayo on the side.
Directions for mayonnaise:
- Separate the egg. Refrigerate the white for tomorrow’s omelet.
- Put the yolk, the remaining lemon zest, the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon water into a small bowl and whisk until frothy. Starting one drop at a time, whisk in the canola oil. Make sure the previous drop is completely incorporated before adding the next. If this is your first time, go slow. You can speed up a bit once things have thickened.
- After finishing the canola oil, whisk in the remaining olive oil in a thin stream. By this time the emulsion should have thickened up to the texture of heavy cream. Add the grated garlic clove. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding lemon juice, pepper and salt if necessary.
Jody Notes: [written by Ken because of Harvard graduation]
Quick! Without looking back, which ingredient is used differently in the recipe instructions than in the photos? If you answered “Parsley!” you should see a therapist – you’re clearly hypervigilant. But yes, in the photos the parsley went on the shrimp BEFORE pouching; in the directions, it’s added after. We decided it looks and tastes better when added later in the show.
You’ll notice that the photo collage includes a shot of a towel rolled into a ring. All serious contenders in the speed mayo competition know that the towel is essential tool for anchoring the bowl while you whisk and pour simultaneously (actually, it’s whisk and drip until things start to thicken up). Otherwise, you fall into the herky jerky pattern of having to pause every time you need to add the next drop of oil. Mayo interruptus. At best, you end up splattering egg and oil all over the place; at worst you do all of the previous, and the mayo separates. Make a towel ring–or use a VERY heavy bowl.
If this is your first stab at homemade mayo, you’re in luck. No one ever warned me not to skip the business about letting the egg come to room temperature, or to add a bit of water at the beginning. Both insure that your first time will make everyone happy. If you’re nervous, make the mayo before you do everything else, then throw it into the fridge until you need it. Mayonnaise is magic – trust me, it will work. Really. You’re welcome.
Click on the collage to see the recipe steps with a little more detail. Left and right arrow keys will move you through the photos.