Soho. Spring 2013. Still lives. Galleries. Gray skies. Fashionably depressed cars gloomily snail along. Bumper to bumper traffic. The chatterbox mouth of the Holland Tunnel. Maybe a week after the close—about six days of slow torture in the magazine publishing world. My talented friend. Me. The long three-block sprint from our company’s office to our lunch date venue, Wine and Flowers.
Bursting with white and pink peonies, and wine bottles everywhere, Wine and Flowers was not just a pretty Soho French restaurant, prime for a two-hour lunch getaway. It gave us life after a storm of work. We walked in loving the quiet happiness, and chose the restaurant’s only table by the only window that faced the sidewalk and dreary buildings across the street.
Two glasses of Sauvignon Blanc with avocado crevettes—avocados stuffed with shrimp and topped with an amazing, creamy saffron sauce—later, and we were fans of Wine and Flowers for life, or until our company moved.
I thought back on all the authentic French food I’ve tasted over the years, and avocado crevettes remains a clear standout. Why?
1. I’ve always loved the mild, earthy creaminess of undressed avocados. Just a little sprinkle of sea salt and you’re good. What a perfect vehicle for flavorful, juicy shrimp!
2. The flavor and texture of the shrimp was just right. There is always something so elegant about seafood that has been cooked well.
3. The creamy saffron Marseillaise sauce was unbeatable in taste, color and smooth consistenct texture.
In the recipe below, I’ve tried to recreate the unforgettable Marseillaise sauce at Wine and Flowers, only afterwards finding an even closer recipe in the NY Times cooking section. Alas, the recipe below is authentic and includes super French ingredients: the ever popular and expensive saffron threads, cream or vegan cream substitute and a dry white wine.
Share it with your girlfriends, sisters, moms, and anyone else who will appreciate nice, simple, southern French cuisine.
Avocado Crevettes Recipe
4 medium ripe avocados
2 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup minced shallots
2 tbsp minced garlic
8 jumbo shrimp
1/3 cup white wine
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp saffron threads
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp of sour cream*
Chopped mixed herbs: basil, parsley, thyme
Sea Salt and pepper to taste
1. Peel and halve avocados and season with sea salt.
2. Heat oil in a pan and lightly brown shallots.
3. Add the garlic and cook till fragrant.
4. Cook shrimp till beautiful, golden brown.
5. Pour in the white wine and simmer for three minutes.
6. Add tomato paste, saffron threads, and season with salt and pepper.
7. Remove shrimp and finish the sauce with cream and butter.
8. Top each avocado half with shrimp and drizzle with creamy saffron, tomato sauce.
*I used a soy creamer with added seasonings as a substitute for the sour cream and it worked perfectly.