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Gambas à l’Oeuf poché et au Vinaigre d’Estragon

This recipes comes from a web site which to me must rank as one of the sites having the finest recipes on the internet. It is the web site of Peter Hertzmann and is called à la carte.

What is à la carte about? This is best described in Peter's own words:

"I’m obsessive. All my life, when something interested me, I became obsessed with it. I learned all I could about it. I lived it! . . . I’ve been obsessive about food as long as I can remember. I am now obsessive with French cookery - its preparation, materials, history, politics, and culture".

To learn more why not visit the à la carte web site - click here

This dish was originally titled langoustines à l’œuf poché et au vinaigre d’estragon. Since langoustines, Dublin Bay prawns, are not generally available in my part of the world, large shrimp have been substituted. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp or they will become tough. I remove the shrimp from the pan when their interior temperature reaches 105° to 110°F (41° to 43°C).


300 grams (about 8) jumbo shrimp
3 tablespoons butter
2 small shallots, minced
200 grams tomatoes, peeled, seeded, diced
3 tablespoons vermouth
dash red wine vinegar
2 sprigs fresh tarragon, minced
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 eggs
1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar
2 sprigs tarragon
1 tablespoon olive oil

  • Peel the shrimp leaving the tail and last section of shell intact. Make a shallow cut down the back of the shrimp and remove the vein. Set aside.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Sweat the shallots until soft. Add tomatoes, lower heat, and cook until the juices released have evaporated. Add vermouth and red wine vinegar and reduce again. Whisk in 1 tablespoon butter and half of the tarragon. Adjust seasonings. Set aside and keep warm.
  • Fill a sauce pan three-fourths full with water and bring to a boil. Add tarragon vinegar and reduce heat so that water is just below a boil. One at a time, break eggs into a small bowl and slip gently into water. Poach until the whites appear cooked, but the yolks are still liquid - about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
  • In the meantime, heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the last tablespoon of butter and the olive oil and heat. Add shrimp and cook. Remove and drain on paper towels.
  • Arrange shrimp on warmed serving plates. Top with tomato sauce and finally a poached egg. Garnish with the remaining fresh tarragon. Serve immediately.

Serves 2

Georges Blanc, Ma Cuisine des Saisons, 1987, page 193.

To visit the à la carte web site - click here