Shrimp and Guacamole Crouton with Poached Lemon

Here is the simplified version of the amuse-bouche we served on New Years Eve at Phillipe Bistro almost twenty years ago.  Start prepping these the day before to make your life a little easier.  This recipe will make 25 shrimp croutons
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Start with the lemons. These should be done the day before
Ingredients:
2 small lemons, sliced 1/8 inch thick and seeds removed, use Meyer lemons if available
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 piece of rosemary about 4 inches long

Method:
Combine water, sugar and rosemary into a small saucepan and bring to a boil for one minute or until sugar is dissolved.

Put lemons in a small heatproof container and pour boiling liquid over the lemons making sure that they are completely covered.

Refrigerate overnight.DSCN0939

Then the croutons.  These can be done anytime on the day you plan on serving them.
Ingredients:
1/2  baguette, cut into 1/8 inch thick slices
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
1 clove of garlic, peeled and slightly crushed with the palm of your hand
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper in a pepper mill, to taste

Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lay the sliced baguette in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Give each slice a generous drizzle of olive oil.  A squeeze bottle works best for this or brush the oil on with a pastry brush.

Lightly season with salt and pepper.

Bake on the center rack of your oven for three minutes.  Spin the pan 180 degrees and cook for another three minutes.  They should be crisp and golden brown on the edges.  Every oven cooks differently.  These burn quickly so keep a close eye on them.  

Let cool for a few minutes and remove them from the pan to a separate container.

Take your clove of garlic and rub it over one side of each crouton twice.  You can do it more times if you want a more garlicky crouton

Store in an airtight container once completely cooled.
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Guacamole next.  Do this close to serving time.
Ingredients:
12 oz ripe avocado pulp, about 4 medium avocados.
1/2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. kosher salt to taste
Black pepper from a pepper mill to taste

Smash it all together with a fork and give it a taste.  Push a piece of plastic wrap onto the top of the avocado to keep it from oxidizing.  Keep it in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

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Shrimp time.  Cook the shrimp just before assembly.
Ingredients:
30 pieces of 41/50 shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 clove of garlic peeled and slightly crushed with the palm of your hand
1 piece of fresh rosemary about 2 inches long, lightly bruised with the palm of your hand
1 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper in a pepper mill, to taste

Method:
Lightly season both sides of the shrimp with salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat.

Once your oil is hot add the shrimp to the pan making sure they are in one even layer.  Cook for two minutes.

Flip the shrimp over and immediately add the butter to the pan.  Put the garlic and rosemary directly on top of the butter and let it sit until just melted.

Toss everything together making sure all of the shrimp is coated with the butter.  Cook for one minute.

Taste your shrimp to make sure they are cooked through and seasoned well.  Place in the fridge until you are ready to assemble

Assembly:
Put these together as close to serving time as possible as the guacamole will soften the croutons.
1. Wash and rinse some cilantro and pick 25 nice small leaves for garnish.
2. Cut your lemon slices into small wedges along the seams of the segments.
3. Using a spoon top the crouton with your guacamole.
4. Put a shrimp on top of the guacamole.
5. Put one cilantro leaf on top of the shrimp then one piece of lemon on the cilantro.

I always think of recipes as suggestions so don’t be afraid to substitute.  You might try larger pieces of shrimp or lemons or substitute your favorite guacamole recipe for the simple one provided here.  I encourage you to make it your own.