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The Dish: Millstone Shrimp at The Main Ingredient

Jan 18, 2012 06:45PM ● By Anonymous

Such was the case at The Main Ingredient, when Executive Chef Geoffrey B. Williams needed one more special to round out dinner service at the Annapolis restaurant and catering company. He came up with a rich, creamy seafood dish combining shrimp, Maryland blue crabmeat, bacon, and cream, among other ingredients. Here, Williams shows us how to make this decadent dish, so you can recreate it at home.


What’s Up? Annapolis: How did your culinary career begin?
Geoffrey Williams: I started as dishwasher at The Blue Channel (now O’Loughlin’s) in Arnold during high school. Eventually, I moved my way up from crab cook to full steam cook to line cook. I left the industry to attend college at The George Washington University in D.C., where I worked part time as the only line cook during happy hour and dinner at a D.C. bar.

WUA: So how did you come to run the kitchen at The Main Ingredient?
GW: I was downtown one day with some new friends and someone needed a ride to work. He suggested that I apply for a job because he knew I was a cook and I had just resigned from a management position with Banana Republic. The chef and I hit it off real well, and very soon I was promoted to sous chef. When Chef Dan Hill left to help open Jack’s in Baltimore, I took over as Café Chef.

WUA: How often do you add new dishes to the menu?
GW: We change the menu about three times a year. Because a bulk of our business is based on repeat customers from the surrounding neighborhoods, I run anywhere from six to eight specials a night. The evening specials sheet that is handed out at dinner often results in the menu being set aside. I think we are known for this around Annapolis. Our soup selections change daily, except for our house specialty, Hungarian mushroom.

WUA: What are you favorite and least-favorite foods?
GW: My favorite is probably really good bread and really good butter and anything from the sea. I will try almost anything and enjoy just about everything, but I can’t stand poorly prepared or packaged foods. A lot of restaurants over promise and under deliver. It is a shame.

WUA: What do you like most about your job at The Main Ingredient
GW: I like trying out new recipes and concepts and watching my dishes grow and evolve. There is no ceiling, no end point, the possibilities are endless.

WUA: What makes this dish special?
GW: It was a dish that grew and evolved over time until we nailed it. It’s also what my Mom orders when she comes into the restaurant.

WUA: What beverage would you serve with this recipe?
GW: Because the sauce is somewhat reminiscent of corn and crab chowder I would drink a hearty beer, like an IPA or maybe a Fat Tire.

Millstone Shrimp
Serves three to four

1 pound 16/20 peeled and deveined shrimp
Corn kernels stripped from 3 ears fresh white corn
½ pound Maryland lump blue crab
1 cup Dry Sherry
4 slices raw bacon cut into strips
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
1 cup cream
Salt & pepper
Just a pinch Old Bay
Olive oil
3 or 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1. Season shrimp as you like with Old Bay, salt, and pepper.

2. Warm the olive oil in sauté pan and sauté shrimp until almost cooked through, around three to five minutes. Set aside.

3. In another pan over medium heat, place bacon strips. Begin to render fat from bacon; when it is just about crispy, drain some fat off but reserve some in pan.

4. Add corn kernels and chopped shallots, use bacon grease to sauté these items for 3 minutes.

5. Deglaze the pan with sherry and allow to reduce by half.

6. Add heavy cream and allow to reduce by half again.

7. Just as the sauce is about done, add the shrimp into sauce and allow to warm through, finish with butter. The sauce should thicken up and coat the back of a spoon. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

8. To serve this here at the restaurant we deep fry our cheddar grit polenta and grill some asparagus. The sauce is spooned out onto a plate, the polenta and asparagus set in the middle and the shrimp placed around the edge, nestled into the sauce. This dish could be served with the polenta and vegetable as an appetizer or simply with roasted or mashed potatoes.