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Shrimp and Basil Beignets
Le Bernardin. New York
Gourmet Archives

12 large shrimp, shelled, reserving shells,
and butterflied
1 leek, the green part chopped and white part
cut into rings, washed well, separately
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 rib celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
30 fresh basil leaves, plus additional
for garnish
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Cayenne to taste
12 won ton wrappers, thawed if frozen
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

In a saucepan combine reserved shrimp shells, green part of leek, onion, celery, carrot, thyme, bay leaf, 6 basil leaves and 4 cups water. Boil the mixture until the liquid is reduced to about 1 1/2 cups. Strain the stock through a sieve into a bowl, pressing on the solids, and reserve it.
In a small skillet cook white part of leek, 1/4 cup reserved stock and
the butter over moderate heat for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the liquid is evaporated.
On a work surface, sprinkle the shrimp, opened, with the cayenne and
salt to taste. Divide the leek mixture among them. Close up the shrimp
and put a basil leaf on each side of them. With a corner of a won ton
wrapper facing you, arrange a filled and wrapped shrimp across the
center. Moisten the area around it with water and fold the wrapper
over to enclose the shrimp, pressing out the air. Make beignets with
remaining won ton wrappers and filled and wrapped shrimp in the
same manner.
Trim the beignets with a 3-inch cookie cutter into semi-circles, leaving
a 3/8-inch edge around the shrimp.
In a deep fryer heat 2 inches oil to 375 degrees F. and in it fry the
beignets, a few at a time, turning them once, for 45 seconds to 1
minute, or until they are golden brown. Transfer the beignets to
paper towels to drain and sprinkle them with salt to taste.
In a small bowl whisk together remaining reserved stock, the mayon-
naise, vinegar, and cayenne to taste.
Arrange 3 beignets on each of 4 plates, garnish then with additional
basil and serve then with sauce. Serves 4.


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