Friday, June 10, 2005

Last night I made shrimp with garlic chive dipping sauce from Texas Ties: Recipes and Remembrances by the Junior League of North Harris County, one of the nicest wedding gifts from my mother's best friend, who did not want me to forget where I came from. (Naturally, I also wore the Texas apron she sent with it while cooking, but not the hat.)

I was just flipping through looking for something shrimp-y and the words garlic and chive caught my eye. Then I noticed that the shrimp were deep fried, and was surprised by the brevity of the recipe. I think because I am so used to Alton Brown and Cook's Illustrated that I expect all discussions of deep frying to include several pages and plenty of sidebars on the best fry thermometer and the effectiveness of a dutch oven vs. a deep fryer. The ladies of North Harris County are all, "Dip the shrimp in egg white, then flour. Heat up 2 cups of oil and deep fry six at a time," like, OF COURSE you know how to deep fry a shrimp. And, I suppose, in the pre-Cook's Illustrated days, women probably did learn how to deep fry shrimp from their mothers. My mother, while a great cook, took us to restaurants for deep fried shrimp. However, I have Cook's Ilustrated instead, and found that I already knew how to deep fry and didn't need the three pages of instruction. Phew.

However, I was really skeptical of the garlic-chive sauce. It wasn't even in recipe form, just a little side paragraph, telling you to beat together an egg yolk with the juice of one lemon and then heat with a half cup of butter, stirring constantly, and then when smooth stir in one minced garlic clove and 2 tablespoons of snipped chives. Y'all, that's hollandaise. The women of North Harris County expect you to make hollandaise without even a warning about maybe you want to use a double boiler or it's liable to break. They are very competent, those women.

However, their method worked, and my sauce did not break. Perhaps if you don't make a big fuss over tricky cooking it's not all that hard?