As a fun project, I am translating the recipes from French, testing them out with home-grown or raised food, and re-writing them in a modern format, with notes about what worked for me in the kitchen}
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With Valentine's day just behind us, all the stores seem to have seafood on sale. Ethan found some good shrimp for me. Shrimp was my favorite childhood food. Ethan was always crazy about salmon, but he feels funny if he eats shrimp. On the rare occasions we get seafood, it's invariably salmon, not shrimp. So he knew I would be excited about it - I am.
We've been getting so many eggs lately. Our layers this year were young in the fall, and they could hardly stand to take a break around the Solstice. Now that we are approaching the Equinox, they seem to be laying full steam ahead. That means like 25 eggs a day.
So I've been perusing the egg section of La Cuisine, trying to find a recipe for this week. And this kind of came together - the shrimp and the eggs being right there. It is an egg salad with shrimp.
R. Blondeau, the author of La Cuisine, says that eggs are the perfect, nutritious food, not only for children, the convalescent, and the elderly, but also for tout le monde (everyone). He (or she - I can't be sure) goes on to say that - to be perfectly healthy, they must be extremely fresh. Old eggs, apparently, can cause indigestion, or more serious problems. There then follows a way to be sure if they are fresh - you put them in a bowl of water and see if they float or not. If they float at all, they are not edible.
I remember plenty of Easters when we piled a couple dozen grocery store eggs into a pot of water, and many of them floated.
There then follows instructions for preserving eggs through the winter, when chickens do not lay. We modern people, accustomed to technology, don't usually notice this, because factory egg chickens are kept with lights to make them think it is the summer Solstice constantly. Many people might find this surprising - in fact, we had a friend...someone who is really into seasonal eating, nature, and being green....who, when asked if they would like any of our extra dozens, replied, "I don't eat eggs in the summer because they are too high protein. Eggs are a winter food for me."
The instructions for preserving eggs for the winter say that air is what makes eggs spoil, as it goes through the pores in the shell. To preserve them, mineral lime is mixed with water, and left to sit for a week to slake. You have to stir it once a day. Then fresh eggs are packed into earthen jars, and the lime is poured over. They are left in a cool place, and apparently keep for months. R. Blondeau says that you must make the preserved eggs in September.
First of all, to begin this recipe, you have to know how to boil eggs. I know that sounds elementary, but there are plenty of people who don't know how. There is a big assumption in this cook book that the reader is already fairly proficient in the basics, so this is the recipe for hard-cooked eggs:
OEUFS DUR (HARD-COOKED EGGS)
Cook your eggs for 10 minutes in boiling water, and then plunge into cold water, peel the shells, and rinse them. Wipe dry with a fine cloth.
Now you're ready for the real recipe:
OEUFS DUR AUX CREVETTES - ORIGINAL TRANSLATED RECIPE
Peel 125 grams of shrimp and incorporate it into a mayonnaise with sliced whites of egg. Naturally, you have already crumbled the yolks into the mayonnaise.
Remember: Hard-cooked eggs cut into slices go perfectly with all green salads: lettuce, romaine, endive, and chicory.
Hard-cooked Eggs With Shrimp (a modern version)
1/4 lb of shrimp
5 eggs or so
1 cup mayonnaise (you could use store-bought, but I have a recipe here)
1. Cook the shrimp in boiling water for about 5 minutes, or until they are pink. Drain and run cold water over them. When they are cool enough to handle, peel them.
2. While the shrimp are cooling, boil the eggs (see above). Peel them, cut in half, and pull out the yolks.
3. Put the cup of mayonnaise into a salad bowl and crumble the yolks into it. Slice the whites up and add them to the mayonnaise. Add the shrimp and mix well. I also seasoned it with salt and pepper, and sliced up some green onion tops from the garden to garnish.
Notes: The shrimp I used were quite large, so I cut them into bite-sized pieces. Also I doubled this recipe for my family of 5. We had it on crackers for lunch.