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Shrimp with Sorrel Sauce: Simple French Elegance

Simple, but elegant. Shrimp with Sorrel Sauce is an excellent touch of French cuisine without much effort. It takes advantage of the taste of fresh shrimp and the unusual taste of sorrel that goes very well with cream. And no, it does not have to be heavy. You can use as little cream as you like. In fact, I prefer it with a thinner sauce.

Shrimp With Sorrel Sauce
Shrimp With Sorrel Sauce

This sauce is a bit of a variation of one of the most famous dishes in modern French cuisine — Salmon Scallops with Sorrel Sauce (Escalopes de saumon à l’oseille) of Maison Troisgros. It is also similar to my version of it using chanterelle mushrooms. But clearly shrimp are different from salmon. Therefore, the taste of this dish gets a bit of an extra taste with lemon juice making the taste of the sauce and the whole dish a bit brighter.

This dish is absolutely wonderful with a crisp white burgundy like a Puligny Montrachet or a chardonnay.

Notes on Ingredients

Shrimp Stock

The recipe includes simple instructions for making shrimp stock. This is assuming the shrimp has shells. It is optional. If not available, either make the dish with more white wine or use another light stock. I generally like to keep a bit of market vegetable stock in my freezer at all times.

Sorrel

Admittedly, sorrel is not the easiest herb to find. If you can’t find it, a few leaves of mild spinach can be used. In this case, you might find yourself adding a little extra lemon to replace sorrel’s acidity taste.

Lemon

A bit of lemon juice is a must for this recipe to give it a bit of brightness.

Sorrel Leaves
Sorrel Leaves

Notes on Technique

The technique of this dish is simple. Saute the shallots in butter, reduce the wine and stock, add the sorrel, and then the cream, lemon, and salt. But, the technique is what makes this dish! You must taste, you must adjust the flavors balancing the cream, liquids, lemon, and salt to your preference. And most importantly, do not make the sauce too thick. Watch it carefully.

Shrimp with Sorrel Sauce

Shrimp with Sorrel Sauce

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes

Simple, but elegant

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (450g) of large shrimp with shells (See note)
  • 1 bunch (20-30) sorrel leaves
  • 1 Shallot or roughly a quarter of a sweet onion
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) Butter 
  • 1/2 cup Shrimp Stock (see instructions)
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) Dry White Wine
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) Cream
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Juice of half of a lemon

Instructions

Sauce and Shrimp

  1. Slice the sorrel leaves roughly and mince the shallot.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan and brown the minced shallot until lightly golden.
  3. Deglaze the pan and shallots with the white wine, cooking briefly, then add the stock. Reduce the volume until it is about a third or half remaining.
  4. Add the cream to the pan and stir. Let thicken slightly. Do not reduce or thicken too much. You want a thin sauce with a light taste.
  5. Add lemon juice and salt. Taste and adjust as you go. Reserve some lemon juice for the shrimp.
  6. Sear the shrimp in olive oil until colored on both sides and thoroughly cooked. When done squeeze a few drops of lemon on the shrimp.
  7. Pour the sorrel sauce into a deep plate and divide the shrimp over it.

Shrimp Stock

If your shrimp has shells, they must be removed before cooking. They can be used to make a stock to add more flavor to your dish. If not present, skip these steps and use a bit more wine in the deglazing step.

  1. If you have head-on shrimp remove heads and discard.
  2. Peel the shrimp and add the peels to a saucepan. Add the shrimp to a glass bowl.
  3. De-vein the shrimp and return to the refrigerator.
  4. Add about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of water to the saucepan. Bring the peels and water to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  5. Strain the stock and keep about 1/4 cup of the stock for the sauce. Freeze the rest for another use.

Notes

If your shrimp do not have shells, simply skip making and using the shrimp stock or use another light stock.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 184Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 457mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 11gProtein: 8g

Calculated Nutrition is estimated.

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