1 pound raw shrimp, shells on
2 sprigs tarragon
6 black peppercorns
4 cups water
2 packages frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, minced (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup white wine
3 tablespoons whipping cream
1 pound grouper or other firm-fleshed white fish, cut in 1 inch cubes
1 tablespoon tarragon leaves
Peel the shrimp and put the shells in a small saucepan. Cut the onion in half and add 1/2 the onion, 2 sprigs of tarragon, black peppercorns and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the shrimp shells. Cover with water and bring to a simmer. Cook 30 to 45 minutes. This will make about 2 cups of strained broth.
When the broth is ready, Melt butter in a large, heavy skillet. Mince the reamining onion and add it and the shallots to the butter. Cook over medium-low heat until the onions soften, about five minutes. Add the wine and cook until reduced to a syrup, about five minutes.
Add the artichokes and stir to coat. Add 1 cup strained shrimp stock, cover the skillet and raise the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the artichokes are tender enough to pierce with a small, sharp knife, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt.
When almost ready to serve, bring the artichoke mixture back to a simmer over medium heat. Add the grouper, cover and cook 3 minutes. Add the shrimp, cover and cook until they are firm and pink, babout 5 minutes. Remove the lid, add the tarragon leaves and raise the ehat to high. Cook just long enough to reduce the braising juices to a thin sauce. Season to taste with salt and serve immediately.
I found this recipe in the Florida Times Union a few month ago. The recipe actually called for 2 pounds of baby artichokes and had you clean them. I substituted the frozen hearts in the recipe above. I've cleaned baby artichokes before. It's not hard, but it is fairly tedious. I figured by the time you've made your own fish broth, you deserve a break.
Serve this with crunchy French bread and butter. I'd bet it would be great over a pasta like linguini as well. As it is, the recipe serves six and has about 236 calories. Pasta would bump that up quite a bit. And as you know, you should never, ever, put parmesan over pasta with seafood, an ironclad rule I break fairly often. But then, that's me. I'm a rebel. I even tear the tags off mattresses.
[Shrimp image via Wikipedia]
[Artichoke image via Gourmet Sleuth]