Shrimp with homemade mayonnaise
This starter is generally served in winter in France, when shellfish are at their prime. You will have best results if you begin with live or very fresh uncooked shrimp. I would recommend against using frozen shrimp, as freshness is key.
What makes the dish really special is the homemade mayonnaise, which is in fact quite easy to prepare. If you’ve never done it before, check out this video. The results are quite spectacular — well worth the effort. I like to flavor the mayo with a little garlic, although this is not traditional. Up to you.
The quantities below are for two people. For a larger crowd, double or triple the recipe.
10 large uncooked shrimp
1 egg yolk at room temperature
1/4 cup sunflower oil or another salad oil
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic (optional)
1 handful salad greens (arugula, cilantro, watercress)
Rinse the shrimp. If they are fresh or live, they will be gray in color.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Plunge the shrimp into the water and cook until they turn pink, 1-2 minutes. Drain.
While the shrimp are cooling, make the mayonnaise:
Place the yolk in a small ceramic or glass bowl heavy enough to hold still while you stir. Add a few drops of lemon juice and 1/2 tsp. mustard. Stir to blend thoroughly.
Add the salad oil little by little, stirring constantly. One way to do this is to fill a teaspoon with oil and let it run off the spoon into the yolk very gradually, stirring all the while. Repeat until the sauce holds together. At this point you may add the oil more quickly, but be careful not to overwhelm the sauce or it may separate.
When you have incorporated all the salad oil, add the olive oil and stir. Now add the rest of the lemon juice and mustard, and the salt and pepper. Taste and re-season if necessary.
If using garlic, peel the garlic clove, cut in half, and add the halves to the sauce. Let the garlic steep for 10 minutes, then remove and discard.
It’s time to prepare the shrimp when they are cool enough to handle. Break off the heads. Remove the legs and any visible veins. Carefully remove the rest of the shell, leaving the tail intact — it is useful as a holder at the table.
If not serving immediately, refrigerate the shrimp and the sauce.
When ready to serve, rinse the greens and spin dry. Cut the half lemon in half again to make 2 pieces.
Pour the sauce into a small bowl and place it on a plate. Arrange the shrimp and the greens around the bowl. Garnish with the lemon pieces. Serves 2.