Shrimp with Vinegar Cream
serves 4

1 pound large (16-20 size) shrimp
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup minced shallots or green onion (green and white parts)
1/2 cup fragrant fruit vinegar, such as pear, apple, or plum [I used champagne strawberry vinegar]
2 cups chicken stock
2/3 cup heavy cream or creme fraiche
1/4 cup diced fresh fruit, such as pears, or whatever the vinegar is flavored with (optional)
2 tsp finely chopped fresh herbs [I used tarragon]
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Prepare the shrimp (peel, devein, and brine if desired). Coarsely chop and reserve the shells.

Heat 2 tbsp of the butter and 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a good saute pan over medium-high heat and add the shallots and shrimp shells. Cook for a few minutes until lightly colored and then add the vinegar and chicken stock. Raise the heat to high and cook until the liquid reduces and thickens a bit (approx 4 or 5 minutes). Then pour the liquid through a fine-meshed seive into a bowl, pressing down on the solids left in the seive to squeeze out all the yummy goodness.

Return the sauce to the pan and add the cream. Reduce some more until you have the consistency of a light sauce. Pull the pan off the heat and add the optional fruit, fresh herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Add a few more drops of vinegar if you need to balance the sauce.

Pour the sauce into a small pan and keep warm over low heat. Wipe out your pan, add the remaining butter and olive oil, and cook the shrimp until pink. Spoon the sauce over the shrimp and serve, ideally with pasta, bread, or rice to soak up the yummy sauce.

-Cooking One on One by John Ash