Classic surf n turf, a kitsch combination if ever there was one, rides the line between Hellenistic hedonism and crassulent cacophony. And regardless of where Americans find themselves plucking this particular cord, its verisimilitude in popular food culture cannot be in doubt. Instead of the more ostentatious pairing of lobster and steak, wild Gulf White shrimp are deftly partnered with braised beef cheek gyoza. Bolstered by a garum made from shrimp heads, subtly, balance, and nuance replace the duo’s usual bombastic timbre.
And then there’s the price…While it is hard to argue that a shrimp is a lobster or a ruminant mandible is anything near a filet, what is most certainly true is that by using a little cunning and guile, the experience can be had all the same while avoiding its predecessor’s sniper like gaze; transfixed on one’s wallet with only the intent to kill.
Since the gastronomic mold has been broken, avoiding the steakhouse standards of drawn butter, rivers of cream, lemon halves stuffed in stockings, and the ubiquitous felled sprig of curly parsley is but a snap. Playing on the dish’s more humble ingredients, a hot sauce of sorts is made through juicing ripe, sweet Jimmy Nardello peppers and adding in a dumpling friendly Japanese condiment called yuzu-kosho. Baby swiss chard replaces the question of should that piece of parsley be stashed in an empty water glass or simply flicked onto the tablecloth with a much easier solution of “place in mouth and enjoy”.
300 grams AP flour
Beef cheek filling
2lb beef cheek meat
2 tsp shrimp garum
60g minced ginger
30g sliced scallion
5g minced garlic
Beef cheek filling
1dz 16-20 Gulf White shrimp, whole
100g white wine
150g orange juice
100g grapefruit juice
20g lime juice
350g butter, cubed
4.5g xanthan gum
Jimmy Nardello Pepper emulsion:
10 Jimmy Nardello Peppers
.5 tsp red yuzu kosho
30g apple cider vinegar
1g xanthan gum
90g butter, cubed
1kg shrimp shells and heads
Place all ingredients into stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on low speed until dough comes together. Turn out onto work surface and knead by hand until dough is evenly incorporated. Let rest 5 minutes. Roll the dough through a pasta machine, gradually decreasing size until you have a thin sheet. Punch out circles with a ring or biscuit cutter, dust with a little rice flour, wrap in plastic wrap, then set aside.
Beef cheek filling
Preheat a water bath to 80C. Trim the beef cheeks of excess fat and sliver skin on the surface of the meat. Lightly season with salt, seal under high vacuum, and cook sous vide for 12 hours. Remove the cheeks from the water bath, let rest at room temperature for 10 minutes, then place in an ice bath for 1 hour to completely chill the meat. Replace ice as necessary. Cut the chilled cheek into small dice, then place in a mixing bowl along with the rest of the ingredients. Mix thoroughly and adjust seasoning with salt or more shrimp garum.
Place a small amount of filling in the middle of each wrapper. Dip your finger in the water and lightly brush once side of the dough with it. Bring both pieces of the dough together, making sure there are no air pockets, then gently form pleats by folding the joined end pieces over onto themselves. Placed finished dumplings on a sheet tray and refrigerate.
Peel the shrimp saving the head and shells for the garum. Using your thumb and pointer finger, flatten the shrimp out and using your other hand, gently remove the digestive track from each shrimp. Wrap shrimp in a mixing bowl and refrigerate.
Place wine and fruit juices into a sauce pot and reduce by half. Place the mixture in a thermomix and add the salt and xanthan. Process on Speed 5 for 2 minutes. Set the temperature for 55C and Speed 2. Slowly add the cubed butter until fully incorporated. Place the sauce back into the saucepan, place on a temperature-controlled induction burner, set to 59C until ready to poach.
Jimmy Nardello Pepper emulsion
Juice the peppers and strain into a sauce pot through a chinois. Add the vinegar, yuzu kosho, and reduce by half. Using an immersion blender, blitz in the xanthan gum on low speed for 1 minute. Slowly blend in the butter while still on low speed. Season with salt and keep sauce warm.
Place the shrimp heads and shells in a food process and blitz till a chunky paste begins to form. Place the mixture into a large glass jar, add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the mixture and seal. Ferment at 60C for 2 months. Strain through chinois into another vessel and refrigerate for up to a year.
Place shrimp in the beurre citron and hold at 59C for 15 minutes, swirling the mixture gently every 5 minutes. While the shrimp are poaching, place a sauté pan over medium high heat, adding enough canola oil to cover the bottom. Once the oil ripples, add the dumplings and pan fry until all sides are golden brown. Drain on paper. Place the shrimp garum in an atomizer and lightly spritz the dumplings with the garum. Place the dumplings into serving bowls. Remove shrimp from the beurre citron, arrange over the dumplings, and lightly sprinkle with Maldon. Heat the pepper sauce slightly, then blitz with an immersion blender for 10 seconds. Gently spoon the sauce around the dumplings.
Thank you to Chef Alex Perry from Vestige, Ocean springs, MS, USA, for the recipe.