July 23, 2018 – A good book makes an evening alone pleasant. Add shrimp, mushrooms, and pasta with, oh, a few other things, and it becomes memorable.
I cook quite often with shrimp and mushrooms. They’re two of my favorite ingredients. Very often they’re bathed, together or separately, in a cream sauce. I had something similar in mind on this night but wanted to take it in a slightly different direction. A cream sauce but no cream. And perhaps an often overlooked addition that would add a little pep.
I used moderately large shrimp. Fifteen to twenty to a pound. But either larger or smaller would work as well.
The different direction called for substituting sour cream for the usual heavy cream. Thicker. A slightly different taste. Not a radical departure from the usual. Just a variation on the norm.
And the “often overlooked addition?” Horseradish. I thought about horseradish when talking recently to my friend, Rich Listowski. Rich, in years past, was famous for the Polish Easter dinners he hosted. Rich lives in Juneau, Alaska’s beautiful, small town capital with a small town’s paucity of grocers. To collect the supplies needed for his Easter gathering, Rich would fly to Anchorage, Alaska’s largest community with its greater variety of grocery vendors. He came in search of horseradish.
I would drive him around to one grocery after another as he bought up all the horseradish root he could find. When he had enough to resemble a fair sized bundle of firewood, he would fly back to Juneau to begin the peeling and grating. Not work for those of languid character.
This is another easily assembled, quickly prepared recipe. It has a flavor I found to be very good. The horseradish gave it that esoteric touch that I like. It’s that thing that makes the diner think, “That’s really good but I just can’t quite place what it is.” Yeah. I like to hear that.
One other thing. For another of those hard to place tastes, I added two tablespoons of a good quality vanilla to the pasta water. The result was a barely discernible sweet nicely offsetting the slight bitter of the horseradish.
Here’s the result of me tinkering around in the kitchen, preparing something quick and easy to enjoy with a good book. And the book, I’m sure you’ll agree, is a really good one!
Shrimp & Mushrooms in a Sour Cream Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 pound shrimp, shelled
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon horseradish
Salt & pepper to taste
Melt the butter and warm the olive oil in a heavy skillet over moderate heat.
Saute’ the mushrooms, cooking them down until they begin to brown.
Add the shrimp and continue to cook until the shrimp turns pink. It shouldn’t take more than three to five minutes. Don’t overcook the shrimp.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping up all the bits from the mushrooms and shrimp that have stuck to the skillet.
Stir in the sour cream and horseradish. Mix well. Continue to stir as the sour cream liquifies.
Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve over your choice of pasta.