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Monday, April 12, 2021

Langoustine "not" Shrimp Taco

Langoustine "not" Shrimp Taco


I recently traveled to San Francisco—my first trip to the West Coast of the United States. I had always heard about the bounty of California produce and was not disappointed with America’s very own Garden of Eden. The incredible quality and freshness of ingredients California has to offer makes an enormous difference in their cuisine.


 Upon meandering the weekly marketplace set up outside the ferry building I sampled many of the freshest foodstuffs to every touch my tongue. One stand belonged to a Mexican restaurant and served up authentic dishes using the freshest produce. I opted for the shrimp taco preparation and was blown away by the flavors. Deliciously smoky, seductively spicy, and finished with lime juice, the plate was a perfect representation of the beautiful confluence of multicultural influence and agricultural aptitude that exists along the West Coast. 


In order to recreate the flavor profile of the shrimp taco dish with my personal stylistic sensibilities in mind, I chose to utilize the luxurious langoustine as the centerpiece. This mildly sweet and delicate member of the lobster family receives a generous marinade treatment from smoked paprika, cayenne, olive oil, and fresh cilantro. Insert a wooden skewer through the langoustine to prevent it from curling, season with salt and pan sear with some pressure until deep golden brown, flip onto the other side and just cook through to medium rare. Allow the langoustine to rest with the skewer in place to maintain its shape.  


Replacing the corn tortilla would be unthinkable, so I maintain that element in this dish, with a bit of creative influence to enhance the eating experience. Briefly fry the corn tortilla to prevent it from becoming soggy later (similar to the enchilada process). Next, dip the tortilla into a rich shrimp broth enriched with Adobo sauce. Cut rounds out of the now pliable tortilla and dehydrate overnight. The shrimp and corn chips will add great flavor and texture to the langoustine dish.  


Fresh avocados dressed with bright lime juice add an essential dose of richness to the preparation. Thinly slice the avocado on a mandolin, then squeeze fresh lime juice and brush on olive oil to coat the slices. Trim overlapping sections of avocado neatly and place underneath the langoustine. Mix crème fraiche with lime juice and fresh cilantro to be pulled alongside the langoustine and serve to cool the spice level down with fantastic flavor. Brunoise fresh plum tomatoes and jalapeños. Dress the tomatoes with olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper, and pickle the jalapeños in a tomato water and red wine vinegar solution. 


This langoustine version of the shrimp taco plate I enjoyed in California is a phenomenal way to introduce a wider audience to a prized piece of haute cuisine. 

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