Michel Richard’s Asian Bistro Soup with Shrimp
Last month another world-class chef joined Escoffier in the Grand Kitchen up in Heaven. Legendary Chef Michel Richard was 68 years old. I was introduced to the Chef’s innovative style of cooking over lunch with my old colleagues at his restaurant Citrus in LA back in the late 1980s and have been an ardent fan ever since.
After hearing of his sudden passing last month, I immediately pulled Happy In The Kitchen from my bookshelf and spent a good part of the day re-reading his recipes and perspectives.
Before each recipe the Chef writes a paragraph or two about the dish – from where the inspiration came; what is important for the cook to note; or his keen observations on taste, texture, presentation, what-have-you. Yes, he is a most accomplished chef, but he is also a very effective teacher – employing humor and ingenuity as skillfully as he does the knife.
Thomas Keller wrote, “Michel did something that’s almost unheard of in the pastry world: he crossed over and became a chef, opening one of the best restaurants in the country, Citrus, in 1987. It’s difficult to overemphasize how unusual this is. Pastry chefs and savory chefs rely on a completely different set of skills and use their intellects in different ways. Pastry chefs are mathematicians. Savory chefs, we’re like free-thinkers. Michel, amazingly, has been able to combine the precision of the pastry chef’s mind with the freethinking nature of the savory chef in a way that no other chef in America has done.”
Michel Richard’s Asian Bistro Soup Recipe
Notes from the Chef: “Kaffir lime leaves have the desired lemony floral bouquet that allows you to cut back on the lemon juice. Pineapple also adds a little tanginess and fruity bouquet. Coconut milk is a nondairy way of getting the effect of the cream…”
Hint: There really is no substitute for kaffir lime leaves. MR
- 1 c. lobster broth
- 16 sustainable jumbo (26 – 30 per lb.) shrimp – tail-on, peeled, deveined, defrosted
- 1 c. dry white wine – preferably sauvignon blanc
- 1/2 c. sliced shallots
- 14 oz. can light coconut milk
- generous pinch saffron threads
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 t. fresh grated ginger
- 6 kaffir lime leaves
- 1/4 c. chopped lemongrass
- pinch of cayenne
- fresh lemon juice
- Tabasco Sauce
- fine sea salt
- 1/2 c. julienne pineapple
- 1 T. julienne basil (or thai basil) leaves
- chinese chive blossoms
In a soup pot combine broth, wine, shallots, coconut milk, and saffron. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cook for 8 minutes.
Add ginger, kaffir lime, lemongrass, and cayenne to the cooking liquid, and bring to a simmer over medium heat to extract the flavors. Season to taste with lemon juice, Tabasco, salt. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into another pot.
Heat the strained soup over medium heat, add shrimp and cook until the shrimp are just cooked through.
Divide pineapple among 4 soup bowls. Place 4 shrimp in each bowl, and ladle hot soup over the top. Garnish with chive blossoms and basil.
Please note: Michel Richard’s original recipe is made with mussels, not shrimp. And heavens no, we were not trying to improve upon the Chef’s recipe. Alas, fresh mussels were simply not available so we improvised with shrimp and added lobster broth to stand in for the mussel liquid.
*A special note of thanks to my dearest friends Kirk and Allison helping to celebrate the legacy of Michel Richard.
Sustainable Seafood Expo 2016
We purchase seafood caught or farmed in ways that support a healthy ocean – now and for future generations.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch recommends US farmed shrimp as a best choice. A good alternative would include wild shrimp from the US and Canada plus farmed shrimp from Ecuador and Honduras. They recommend avoiding any other imported shrimp.
The Sustainable Seafood Expo will be held at the Port of Los Angeles on October 2nd from noon to 5 PM. Seafood Lovers in Southern California – don’t miss this important event! Read more about it here.
Food Network featuring Soup
It is my honor to submit Michel Richard’s Asian Bistro Soup for this week’s Food Network collaboration.
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