Today, in celebration of our 10th anniversary, Husband and I did a little North Shore crawl that included a visit to Waialua Bakery for their extraordinary cinnamon buns. (I am going to get that recipe if it’s the last thing I do. I DREAM about these things. They are rather plain — just a hamburger bun-size mounded round, golden brown, moist and dense in texture with a very slight glaze. These buns have absolutely the perfect balance of butter to sugar to cinnamon to salt — rich but not sickeningly so, sweet but not overly so with just enough spice and salt to cut the richness.)
At a mini farmers market that specializes in organic produce, we found some gigantic Rapoza mangoes from Poamoho Farm up the hill (I had actually thought about dropping in on my friend, Poamoho farmer Al Santoro, on the drive down, but his gate was locked.)
After I visited pretty much every dress shop in Haleiwa and Husband visited every bench outside of said shops, we walked in the sand at turtle beach, then stopped at Fumi’s for a pound of live shrimp and at Nozawa Farms for fresh sweet corn and a bag of lilikoi that Husband just had to have.
Tonight, I’ll recreate a menu that brings back lovely memories. Four or five years ago during our anniversary week, we invited chef Mavro and his wife, Donna, over for dinner out at a beach house we were renting. I planned to make a super-simple shrimp dish, Crevettes a la Poele from “When Frenchwomen Cook” by Madeleine Kamman. Busy prepping other dishes, I sent my husband out to get the shrimp. He came back with 2 pounds of live prawns. Large prawns. Gigantic prawns. Prawns the size of squirrels. With bright blue whiskers longer than my arm. And each with a single, wicked, razor sharp claw. I very nearly cried. I was literally hysterical. “I don’t know what to DO with these!,” I wailed.
Then I remembered that the world’s living expert on seafood was coming to dinner. I stuffed the prawns safely into a cooler of ice and left them for Mavro to clean. Which he did with his usual Gallic enthusiasm. I was finding bits of blue shell around the kitchen for a week!
Anyway, he cleaned them. And, gently elbowing me out of the way, he cooked them. But this recipe is so kindergarten easy that I can make it myself. Here’s how:
Crevettes a la Poele
“When Frenchwomen Cook” by Madeleine Kamman
2 pounds fresh, whole, head-on shrimp, unwashed
2-4 tablespoons butter
Pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed (I use 4 cloves)
1 1/2 cups cream
Sort shrimp and remove any impurities but do not wash. Leave whole.
Head a deep-sided frying pan or wok or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add butter and swirl as it sizzles, lifting the pan so that the butter melts and turns golden brown but doesn’t burn. Add shrimp, garlic and pepper and cook just until shrimp shells turn pinky red, tossing every half minute or so, for a total of 3-4 minutes. Remove shrimp from pan with tongs; place in covered pot. Pour cream into pan and reduce by one-half. Return shrimp to pan just until heated through. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
We’re having this with corn on the cob and a couple of thin-sliced Roma tomatoes. The tomatoes looked good in the store but were sadly bland when I tasted them so I have them marinating in glurg of olive oil, the juice and zest of one-half Meyer lemon, a small handful of minced parsley, a pinch of sugar, two pinches of salt and some fresh-ground pepper. I’m hoping the lemon, salt and sugar will help bring out some flavor. I would normally have added minced garlic but with the garlic in the shrimp I thought not.
Happy memories. I wore white to day to tell him I’d marry him all over again. And, of course, I’m happy to make shrimp for him all over again, too!
What a lovely column about love and marriage — and recipes: it’s got EVERYTHING!