Shrimp with Orange Butter Sauce and Cornmeal Savarins

36 large shrimp, shelled and deveined, reserving 6 shells
2 cups dry vermouth
1/4 cup tequila
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the Sauce:
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons dry white wine
6 tablespoons fresh orange juice
the zest from 1 orange
2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits

6 cornmeal savarins (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon minced scallion top for garnish

In a large skillet combine the shrimp, the vermouth, the tequila, and the butter.  Bring the liquid to a boil, stirring, and simmer the shrimp for 1 minute and 30 seconds, or until they are just firm.  Transfer the shrimp to a plate with a slotted spoon and keep them warm.

Make the sauce:  Reduce the shrimp cooking liquid with the reserved shells over moderately high heat to about 3 tablespoons, discard the shells, and in a saucepan combine the reduced liquid with the shallot, the vinegar, the wine, the orange juice, and the orange zest.  Bring the liquid to a boil and simmer it for 5 minutes, or until it is reduced to about 1/4 cup.  Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the butter, 1 piece at a time, lifting the pan from the heat occasionally to cool the mixture and adding each new piece of butter before the previous one has melted completely.  (The sauce should should not get hot enough to liquefy.  It should be the consistency of then hollandaise.)  Keep the sauce warm over hot water.

Arrange the savarins on heated plates or shallow bowls and top each savarin with some of the shrimp.  My shrimp were small so I used 5 per savarin.  The original recipe used 3 per savarin.  Spoon some of the sauce onto the plates or bowls.  Garnish each serving with the scallion tops.  Serves 6.

CORNMEAL SAVARINS

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flour
1 large egg yolk, beaten lightly
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg white at room temperature
1/4 cup corn kernels, thawed if frozen
2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper or minced pimiento
2 tablespoons minced Anaheim chili pepper

Into a bowl sift together the cornmeal, the baking powder, the sugar, the salt, and the flour.  In another bowl combine the egg yolk, the butter, the cream the buttermilk, and the baking soda and stir the mixture into the cornmeal mixture.  In a small bowl beat the egg white until it holds stiff peaks and fold it into the cornmeal mixture with the corn kernels, the red bell pepper and the chili pepper.

Spray 8 metal savarin molds, each 3 1/4 inches in diameter, well with non-stick vegetable coating and fill them with scant 1/3-cup measures of the batter. Bake the molds on a jelly-roll pan in the lower third of a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until a wooden pick comes out clean.  Loosen the edges of the cornbread with a small knife and turn them out onto a rack.  The cornbread savarins may be made ahead and kept chilled or frozen, wrapped in plastic wrap.  Makes 8 individual cornbreads.

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