There are certain recipes that feel really special when you serve them to family and friends, and if you are lucky, they are pretty quick and easy to put together as well. This is one of them.We had a lovely physically-distanced brunch with old friends this weekend outdoor under my massive sugar maple tree. We said goodbye to summer in great style, with laughter, memories, and lots of shared food and wine, including some beautiful pastries to top everything off.
I chose foods that I could prep the day before to make the day itself hassle free. I prepped and cooked all the frittata ingredients and in the morning, I just had to beat the eggs, start cooking them, add the veggies, and bake it all off. No time at all. It was easy to keep warm.
Make the day before
I also made the soup the day before and reheated it after we had leisurely done good damage to the appetizer course!For a starter, I put little Vermont-shaped cutting boards filled with treats at each couple’s place. None of this needed to be cooked, it was all assembly. Several Vermont cheeses: savory Bailey Hazen Blue from Jasper Hill Farms, Tangy Vermont Creamery Herbed Goat Cheese, and the most flavorful soft-ripened bloomy Mt. Alice from Von Trapp Farmstead. To the board I added a little bowl of Vermont Feta, sun-dried tomato, and black olive combo I mixed together, as well as a bit of prosciutto di Parma, some spiced nuts, and crackers. We nibbled on these all through our four-hour meal!
The soup was a hit, I’ve put emphasis on squeezing out as much flavor from the shrimp as possible. I’ve roasted it, used every bit of shell to make stock, and enhanced the stock every step of the way. I’ve also used a simple medley of vegetables that elevate the flavor of the shrimp without masking it. It might look like a lot of steps, but the process is pretty quick and I reuse both the stock pan and the roasting sheet to cut down on dishes!
Coconut flavor if you wish
If you use full-fat coconut, there will be a slight coconut flavor which is actually delicious with the shrimp and how I made it this weekend. If you use the light coconut milk, it will be a bit less creamy and no coconut flavor. Your choice.
Whenever I peel shrimp, I make a quick stock from the shells. It doesn’t take any longer to put the shells in a pot than the compost bin! Add some water, a bit of salt, bring it to a boil, simmer for a half hour, and you’re done with no babysitting. I freeze it if I’m not using it right away. Use it in soups, stews, as the liquid in rice, or even add to pasta boiling water!
While the veggies and shrimp roast, the stock simmers. Total time for everything is about 45 minutes.
Roasted Shrimp and Coconut Bisque
Makes 8 cups
- 1 large sweet onion, thick slice
- 1 bulb fennel, thick slice (reserve some fronds)
- 1 large tomato, thick slice
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sweet paprika
- 1 lb. wild raw shrimp with shells, 16-20 ct.
- 6 to 8 cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ dry sherry
- 1 can coconut milk, regular or light
- Fruity hot sauce to taste
Quick Alternative:Purchase some really good shrimp or other shellfish stock from your fish market and use that rather than making your own. Roast the shrimp and vegetables as above.
Boost Flavor Trick:One day when I was making a similar recipe, I put the roasting pan aside to assemble the meal, filling it with water to soak while we ate. Later, I scraped the bits from the pan. What I had was a beautiful, brown, stock base that I was throwing out! Light bulb moment! Since then, I ask myself if I can treat my roasting pan like a sauté pan loaded with fond. Sometimes, of course, a roasting pan has too many burnt edges, but in this case, the little trick enhances the flavor of the soup greatly. Another little bit that would be washed away rather than put to work.
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