- Course: Hot Appetizer
- Skill Level: Moderate
- Cost: Moderate
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This is my take on wonton soup. Loads of fresh herbs make the dumplings and broth aromatic and refreshing. Rather than discarding the shrimp shells from the shrimp used for the dumplings, I fry them and add them to the broth for a distinctive sea-saltiness.
Fragrant lemongrass broth:
- ½ cup grapeseed oil, corn oil, or other neutral oil
- 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 3 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 2/3 ounces shrimp shells, from about 10 extra-large shrimp, rinsed well and dried completely
- 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
- One ½-inch piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced and crushed
- 2 fresh green Thai chiles, halved lengthwise
- 4 strips fresh lemon zest, pit removed and chopped
- 1½ cups chicken stock, preferably homemade or canned low-sodium broth
- 2 lemongrass stalks, smashed and chopped
- 1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ pound (about 10) extra-large fresh shrimp, peeled, deveined, and quartered
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
- ½ fresh red Thai chile, seeded and minced
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh young ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 16 wonton skins
- 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup picked fresh dill
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 20 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and cut into ½-inch-thick slices
- 4 Chinese celery stalks, cut into ½-inch-long matchsticks
1. To make the broth: Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until very hot, but not smoking. Add the garlic and shallots and cook, stirring, until deep golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
2. Add the shrimp shells to the oil and cook, stirring, until deep golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
3. Put the fried garlic, shallots, and shrimp shells in a large saucepan with the fennel, ginger, chiles, lemon zest, chicken stock, and 2 cups water. Bring to a steady simmer over medium heat. As soon as the mixture simmers, remove from the heat and add the lemongrass and mint. Cover and steep for 45 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, squeezing the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Season with salt and lemon juice.
4. Meanwhile, make the dumplings: Stir together the shrimp, wine, chile, ginger, salt, and cornstarch until well mixed. Put a spoonful of the shrimp mixture in the middle of one wonton wrapper. Wet the edges of the wrapper with water and fold the wrapper in half to form a triangle. Wet the two opposing corners and fold them in over the center to form a little pouch. Repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers.
5. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the shrimp dumplings and cook, stirring gently, until they float to the surface and are cooked through, about 10 minutes. The wrapper will be tender and the shrimp will be pink. Drain and put 4 dumplings in each serving bowl. Top with the scallions, dill, and mint.
6. Heat the olive oil in a large wide saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and sear until nicely browned, turning once. Add the broth and celery and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from the heat and divide the broth, mushrooms, and celery among the serving bowls. Serve immediately.
© 2007 Jean-Georges Vongerichten