Olive-Oil-Poached Shrimp with Winter Pistou

INGREDIENTS

  1. Pistou:
    • 2 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves
    • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
    • 1/2 cup thinly sliced peeled carrots
    • 2 cups small broccoli florets
    • 1 cup small cauliflower florets
    • 1 cup vegetable stock or vegetable broth
    • 1/2 cup cooked cranberry beans or other winter beans or canned drained Great Northern or cannellini beans
    • 1/2 cup (packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves
    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  2. Shrimp:
    • 3 cups olive oil
    • 3 large fresh thyme sprigs
    • 18 uncooked large shrimp (for the first course) or 24 uncooked large shrimp (for the main course), peeled, deveined, patted dry

PREPARATION

For pistou:

Bring a large saucepan of water to boil. Add basil leaves and simmer 15 seconds. Using a strainer or slotted spoon, transfer basil directly to the blender. Add 1 teaspoon coarse salt to water in the same saucepan and bring it to boil. Add carrots and cook 5 minutes. Add broccoli and cauliflower, and cook until all vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes longer. Drain. Using a slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to bowl of ice water and let stand until cold. Drain well. Add vegetables, vegetable stock, cranberry beans, parsley, and 1/4 cup oil to basil in a blender. Puree until smooth, occasionally scraping down sides of blender with a rubber spatula. Transfer pistou to medium bowl, and season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Pistou can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm in the microwave before serving.

For shrimp:

Pour 3 cups olive oil into a heavy large saucepan, and add thyme sprigs. Attach a deep-fry thermometer to side of saucepan and heat oil over medium heat until thermometer registers between 165°F and 180°F. Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper. Add shrimp to hot oil and poach just until shrimp are opaque in center, adjusting heat to maintain the temperature between 165°F and 180°F, about 8 minutes. Transfer shrimp to paper towels to drain.

Divide warm pistou among 4 or 6 plates. Top pistou with poached shrimp and serve.