Adventures of the Heart
Mary Zalmanek
Entrees: Flambéed Shrimp

With shrimp fresh off the boat and fennel and tarragon from a farmer's market, this is one heavenly dish.  Even with previously frozen shrimp and dried tarragon, it's very good.  If you want to double the recipe for company, keep in mind the more liqueur, the bigger the fire.  For more than four servings, cook in batches.


Serves 2

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 fennel bulb, diced
  • 3/4 to 1 lb 21/25-count shrimp, shelled and de-veined
  • ¼ cup Sambuca, ouzo or other aniseed-flavored liqueurs
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained
  • Salt and pepper
  • Rice, prepared according to directions

Dice the white, round base of the fennel bulb, discarding the green stalks. Reserve a few feathery fronds. 


Melt butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add fennel; sauté for 2 minutes. Add shrimp; sauté for 2 minutes.  The shrimp may still have some grey in them; they still have more cooking time.


Before lighting the fire in the pan, clear the immediate area of anything flammable.  Add the liqueur, let it warm for five seconds, and then light it with a butane candle lighter. Turn the lights down low to fully appreciate the romantic blue flames, which will burn themselves out in 20 to 40 seconds.  Add cream, tarragon, tomatoes, salt and pepper.  Reduce for a few minutes, until sauce thickens. 


Serve over rice and lightly garnish with fennel fronds.