The recipe in the book makes a lot of pickled shrimp which is perfect if you’re hosting a few friends. Since I hadn’t planned a party, I cut the quantities in half. I used about a pound of shrimp which I cleaned and deveined leaving the tails intact. The shrimp were poached in boiling water to which had been added a bay leaf, half a lemon, and some black peppercorns. The poached shrimp should be removed from the boiling water and placed directly into an ice bath to stop the cooking. In a separate saucepan, a cup and a half of white vinegar, a cup and a half of water, two tablespoons of sugar, two tablespoons of salt, and a couple of teaspoons of coriander seeds was warmed until the sugar and salt dissolved. The vinegar mixture was then left to cool. Once cool, the vinegar mixture was poured into a bowl with the drained, cooled shrimp, and a big handful of roughly chopped parsley was added. The bowl was refrigerated overnight. Next, the sauce was made by sauteing a peeled and chopped celery root with half a chopped onion and a chopped garlic clove. Once the vegetables became a little tender, after five minutes or so, a cup and a half of water was added with salt and pepper to taste. The mixture was simmered for about 45 minutes until the celery root was completely cooked through. The water should mostly evaporate during the cooking time. After 45 minutes, the vegetables and any remaining liquid were transferred to a blender and pureed with a few tablespoons of cream until smooth.
This version of pickled shrimp was so much better than my previous attempt. Shocking the shrimp in ice water is a crucial step, I believe. You really want to stop the cooking to keep the texture of the shrimp at its best. Also, a good, sharp, white vinegar is the way to go. It gives the shrimp a zippy, bold flavor which is perfectly balanced by the mild, sweetness of the celery root puree. I was completely delighted by this dish. I look forward to making this for a party since it requires being made in advance, and it’s a little more interesting than shrimp cocktail. And, when celery root isn’t in season, I highly recommend trying the pickled shrimp on top of deviled eggs.
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