It's Fantasy Travel Week on Food Republic, so we're running recipes from the restaurants at the world's most elite and elegant hotels. Up next, a Catalan shrimp dish by José Andrés served at the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills and SLS South Beach.
"The Rossejat is a very traditional Catalan dish, but at the same time it has a fascinating connection with Italy," says José Andrés. "When I first started working in America, I was so happy to see that Americans really embraced the Rossejat. They loved it and I knew that Spanish food would only become more and more popular."
Andrés suggests keeping the dish in a warm oven for five minutes after cooking so that the pasta has a chance to rise and absorb the flavors, and he always mixes in a custom-made Catalan "aioli" redolent of garlic before eating.
- 4 pounds whole shrimp, shells on
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
- 2 large sweet onions, chopped
- 1 (35-ounce) can peeled whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sweet pimentón de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 12 cups water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds fideos or angel hair pasta, broken into 3-inch lengths
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- pinch of sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups Spanish extra virgin olive oil
For the aioli:
- Using a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic and salt together until you have a smooth paste. Turn the mortar while you mash, scraping down the garlic from the sides with the pestle.
- Add the lemon juice, then add the olive oil, drop by drop, as you continue to crush the paste with the pestle. Keep turning the pestle with a slow, continuous circular motion around the mortar as you drip the oil in slowly and steadily, making sure the paste absorbs the olive oil.
- Keep adding the oil until the sauce has the consistency of a very thick mayonnaise. If your aioli becomes too dense, add 1/2 teaspoon of water to thin it out. This process takes time — around 20 minutes of slow, circular motions around the mortar — to create a dense, rich sauce.
For the rossejat:
- Bring a large, heavy pot of water to a boil. Add the shrimp and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Drain the pot, and keep stock for later use. When the shrimp are cool enough to handle, remove shells and tails. Cover and refrigerate.
- Heat 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the large pot. Add shrimp and cook over high heat, stirring often, until beginning to brown, about 7 minutes. Add the chopped garlic, carrots and onions and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened, about 8 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and cook until any liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the pimentón and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the brandy and cook until almost evaporated, about 3 minutes.
- Add the water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat for 30 minutes, skimming a few times. Strain the shrimp into a large saucepan. Bring the stock to a simmer, cover and keep hot.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Wash out the large pot and return it to the stove. Place shrimp on baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine the melted butter with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil; brush over the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake for about 12 minutes, until just heated through.
- Meanwhile, in the large pot, heat the remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the fideos and cook over moderately high heat, stirring constantly, until browned, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in half of the shrimp stock, cover and cook for 3 minutes. Add half of the remaining stock, cover and cook until almost absorbed, about 3 minutes.
- Add the remaining stock and cook, stirring, until the fideos are al dente, about 2 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper.
- Spoon the fideos into shallow bowls, top with the shrimp and serve with allioli.
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