Viet Cajun Beurre Blanc Shrimp
Recipe courtesy of Maria Do for Food Network Kitchen

Viet-Cajun Beurre Blanc Shrimp

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 25 min
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: 2 to 3 servings
Whether you’ve enjoyed Viet-Cajun food before or are completely new to its charms, this dish is a fantastic introduction to enjoying its complex flavors at home. A relatively new cuisine, Viet-Cajun was inspired by the foods Vietnamese immigrants began cooking in the southern United States, particularly dishes based on ingredients from the Gulf Coasts of Louisiana and Texas. This recipe is inspired by my dad’s version of shrimp with the foundational French butter-and-white-wine sauce known as beurre blanc. He used shell-on shrimp from our family’s seafood business in New Orleans, then reimagined the sauce with the addition of lemongrass, garlic, lime, fish sauce and Cajun seasoning. My sister and I would peel the shrimp at the table and tear off chunks of light, crusty Vietnamese French bread (sometimes called bánh mì) to dip into the sauce. But feel free to start with peeled shrimp if you prefer, and use any French bread you like. When it comes to making the sauce, very cold butter and constant whisking are the tricks to avoiding a broken buerre blanc. Also, make sure your heat is low; if the mixture is too hot, the butter will separate and the sauce will break.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large high-sided saucepan over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, lemongrass and shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until the lemongrass and shallots start to soften and the garlic is just starting to brown on the edges, 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Add the wine, lime juice, fish sauce and Cajun seasoning; stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and reduce until thickened slightly, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat to low. While whisking constantly with a large balloon whisk and shaking the pan, add a piece or two of the remaining butter and heat until fully melted. Repeat adding and whisking in the remaining butter pieces until all of the butter is fully incorporated and the sauce is thick and emulsified, about 5 minutes. If the sauce gets too hot and begins to break (the butter separates), remove the pan from the heat and quickly whisk in 1 to 2 ice cubes. Once re-emulsified, return to the heat and continue whisking in the butter.
  4. Add the shrimp, cover and cook until barely pink but not fully cooked through, about 2 minutes, then turn off the heat; the shrimp will continue to cook in the residual heat.
  5. Sprinkle with the cilantro, if using, and serve immediately with crusty French bread for dipping.

Cook’s Note

If your sauce looks a bit rough and broken and needs a little help, add a splash of cream at the end to help the emulsion come back together.