It’s been a month or so since I had dinner at Le Bernardin. During that time, I made sure to pick up a copy of Eric Ripert’s “A Return to Cooking”. Like his restaurant, his book is sleek, highly impressive, and a little intimidating.
I figured the best way to start cooking from this book would be to start small. An easy dish that caught my eye was the black pepper and cognac shrimp. With only 10 minutes of prep and 10 minutes of cook time, how hard could it be?
Unfortunately, Paul Anthony’s only had a pound of these shrimp. Still, I think a pound of Hawaiian blue prawns fit the bill quite nicely. It just means there will be a little extra sauce.
Moving forward, I thinly sliced an onion.
I know the recipe calls for 3 thyme sprigs, but it was getting late and I wanted to eat shrimp. So I substituted between ½ and ¾ teaspoon of dried thyme.
Don’t forget to salt to taste.
Next, in went the shrimp, pepper, and thyme.
Ripert writes that the shrimp need to be cooked until they are bright orange, about 2 minutes, give or take. As is the case with all shrimp, be careful about overcooking.
I think that’s a pretty nice orange.
Now for the exciting part, the next step calls for ½ cup of cognac to be added and then lit.
Stirring until everything was incorporated, the shrimp turned out just like Ripert said.
Everything looked delightfully creamy.
However, there was one last step.
As a final touch, 1 tablespoon of chopped tarragon is added to the pot, along with a the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon.
Per his instructions, I immediately served the shrimp with a few pieces of crusty French bread. How did it taste? Exactly like shrimp cooked in cognac and butter would taste, decadent. I do think the cognac wouldn’t have been as prominent if I had used a full 2 pounds of shrimp, but it was a minor problem. I like an auspicious beginning to a cookbook and this first Ripert recipe has me chomping at the bit to try another.