Shrimp and Grits, California-style

Last night I read an article about poaching shrimp in a butter emulsion called beurre monté, in order to impart the richness of lobster. Sounded simple and fun, something I hadn’t done before, so tonight I stopped at the market to pick up half a pound of shrimp and some salted butter. Making the sauce was easy: simmer a few tablespoons of water and then whisk in an obscene amount of butter. Then drop the shrimp in, peeled and deveined, and poach till they turn pink.

Couscous seemed the most natural accompaniment, so I boiled water to rehydrate a quarter cup each. We also had some arugula that wasn’t going to last forever, so I put the good bits in a large bowl along with a handful of pine nuts, and a healthy amount of cheese grated from the ends of two different types. I whipped together a quick vinaigrette with the juice of a meyer lemon, some olive oil, salt, and pepper and combined everything together with the couscous, which had cooled slightly.

I served the couscous salad in our deep plates with a ring of the butter-poached shrimp on top. It looked lovely. They did taste faintly of lobster, but more than that, the dish as whole evoked a lighter, more refined version of shrimp and grits, the classic southern dish. I think it was the grated cheese. Maybe next time lardons?

· Food