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Dish R&D: Sesame Gulf Shrimp

30 June 2006
Dish R&D: Sesame Gulf Shrimp

Six citrus fruits add fresh appeal to a seafood favorite at 3030 Ocean.

This article first appeared in the 15 May 2006 issue of Restaurants & Institutions (R&I).

R&I is the USA's leading source of food and business-trend information and exclusive research on operators and restaurant patrons. Editorial coverage spans the entire foodservice industry, including chains, independent restaurants, hotels and institutions. To find out more about R&I, visit its website www.foodservice411.com.

By Allison Perlik, Senior Editor

Executive Chef Dean James Max sees no reason to sacrifice imagination in menuing tried-and-true preparations at 3030 Ocean, a modern-American restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

"People love shrimp, and they love them fried, so we balance the ingredients to give this dish a feeling of lightness," says Max, who perches crisp Gulf shrimp atop avocado purée and citrus sauce in a seasonal recipe that evokes the essence of Florida summers.

For a restaurant located inside the oceanfront Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, fresh seafood is an obvious menu star. In this appetizer, Max chooses jumbo Gulf shrimp over another wild American variety, Key West pink shrimp, for ease in sourcing larger sizes.

Toasted sesame seeds and sesame oil lend a nutty taste and suggestion of Asian flair to tempura-style batter used to coat the shrimp. The same accent enlivens the avocado sauce, which incorporates sesame oil as well as lime juice, minced shallot and salt. "I love avocado and shrimp together. The sesame oil makes a flavorful, smooth purée, and the avocado shines. Its smoothness goes great with the crunchy seafood," Max says.

To prevent shrimp from clumping together or sticking to the bottom of the fryer, each one is held by the tail and immersed in bubbling peanut oil for four seconds before being dropped in for full cooking.

Max takes advantage of local fruits to create the dish's most palate-awakening element, a lively citrus sauce that begins with juiced grapefruit, oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines and kumquats. "No single flavor stands out more than another," he says. "They meld together for an exotic taste you don't usually find."

In a final salute to the recipe's Asian theme, lemongrass, ginger, coriander and fennel seeds are added to further spark the fresh taste. The sauce then is reduced almost to a paste and pressed through a strainer. Rice vinegar, chosen over other delicately flavored options, lends another acidic dimension, while a mix of peanut oil and grapeseed oil rounds out the recipe. Colorful segments of the juiced fruits decorate the finished plate.

DISH: Sesame Gulf Shrimp With Avocado Purée and Florida Citrus Sauce
COMPOSITION: Two tempura-battered shrimp, avocado purée, citrus sauce, citrus segments
18 months
MENU PRICE: $14
FOOD COST: 28%

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