Ah, langoustines…what can I say, I love them. With such a pristine and delicate flavor that some say rivals that of their older cousin, the lobster, what’s not love? You can imagine my excitement when, on the first day of cooking class, Patricia presented us with Joël Robuchon‘s recipe for langoustine bundles with fresh herbs.
Half of the wrapped and trimmed bundles each held a fresh basil leaf. The other half, a piece of truffle…this is France, after all.
We enjoyed these delicious appetizers paired with a 2011 Jurançon Sec, a dry white wine from southwestern France.
Langoustine bundles with fresh herbs:
12 fresh langoustines or large fresh shrimp, cooked then peeled and deveined
12 pieces of phyllo dough, cut into 6-inch (15 cm) squares from about four large sheets
Coarse freshly ground pepper to taste
12 fresh basil leaves
3 liters of vegetable oil (peanut or safflower will work) for deep frying
Place a langoustine at the corner of a piece of phyllo dough. Season the langoustine with pepper (no salt). Top with a basil leaf and roll tightly. Secure with a toothpick. Trim each end evenly on a diagonal cut, leaving about 1/2 inch (2 cm) overhang. Repeat with the remaining langoustines. The shellfish should not be wrapped more than 15 minutes in advance.
Place oil in a heavy 3 qt. saucepan, or use a deep fryer. Oil should be at least 2 inches deep. Using a deep-fry thermometer, heat oil to 375° F (190° C). Fry in batches, 3-4 at a time, until pastry is crisp and lightly browned. Remove and transfer to paper towel to drain. Season with fine sea salt.
(I found that a drizzle of basil sauce on the plate adds a fresh component: in a blender, combine 1 3/4 oz. (50 g) fresh basil, 3.5 oz (10 cl) olive oil, and one clove chopped garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste.)
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