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Olive Oil Poached Shrimp

Updated on December 11, 2012

Contestant chef Lia takes on Olive Oil-Poached Shrimp in a rather intense elimination challenge on Bravo's TOP CHEF series, season 3. The challenge was to (in teams of three) create a trio of one ingredient. Each team member had their own dish to present. This olive oil poached shrimp recipe is Lia's winning dish from the trio presented by her team in this challenge.

Often the chefs make shrimp dishes as starter dishes or entrees during the challenges. Seriously, who doesn't like shrimp? Once in a while the chef's create a magic ensemble of ingredients that will make you sit-up and take notice. In this poached shrimp dish, Lia manages to blend some of the usual favorite shrimp pairings with that rare moment of culinary magic. The recipe does present a challenge in its preparation, but the outcome is as pleasing as a trip on your favorite carnival ride! I hope you enjoy this lovely starter recipe your family and friends can't help but appreciated!

"You don't get shrimp poached in olive oil every day. I think this was a nice way to handle it." —Tim Allen, Top Chef Judge

olive oil poached shrimp

Olive oil - Poached Shrimp Recipe

Funny TOP CHEF Music Video, "JUST EAT IT" it's good for a laugh!

Olive Oil - Poached Shrimp

What a lovely treat olive oil poached shrimp is! The recipe is kind of intense, and requires some heavy preparation. The many facets of the dish are an adventure into the world of culinary greatness. This dish will raise your chefly desires to that of executive's. Before you begin to prep things, read all of the way through the recipe to get an idea as what is in-store for you, then follow the steps, as this will also help you stay organized and on task.

What you will need

  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • One 750-ml bottle of olive oil
  • 1 lime
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons cornstarch
  • Salt
  • 1/3 English cucumber
  • 1 large poblano chile
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced cilantro
  • Zest and juice of 1 Meyer lemon
  • Juice of ½ of a navel orange
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 firm tomato (vine-ripened is suggested)
  • 8 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 Hass avocados

Putting Your Olive Oil Poached Shrimp Recipe Together

Now that your ingredients are all gathered, lets get started putting olive oil poached shrimp on your plates! I suggest reading through the recipe before beginning to prepare the poached shrimp. Because this recipe has many components, this will help you to better understand the order of events and what to expect. I feel it is a good practice to get into for any recipe, Top Chef or not!


When considering food brought up from the sea, do you prefer crustaceans (shrimp, crab, lobster, etc,) or fleshy fish?

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  1. Using a medium saucepan over medium-high heat toast the coriander seeds and red pepper flakes for about 1 minute. Pour in the oil and heat until it just hot enough, but you can still touch it. Take off of the heat and set aside to steep for about 10 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and cheesecloth and move to a medium saucepan.
  2. Remove the zest from the lime using a peeler, scrape off any white-pith that remains on the back of the zest. Retain the lime. Dice the zest very finely and add to a small saucepan, covering with cool water. Bring water up to a boil, and immediately drain. Place the zest back into the saucepan, repeat the boiling and draining process once more. In the same saucepan, add the sugar, ½ cup of water and the zest mix together gently. Bring the ingredients to a boil over high heat. Take it off heat and allow the syrup to cool.
  3. Over a clean saucepan, strain the syrup through a filter; place the candied zest into a small bowl and set aside. In the pan combine the cornstarch and ½ cup water. Pour the mixture into the syrup adding 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and cook while gently stirring until thickened, or about 3 minutes . Set aside to cool.
  4. Turning your attention to the cucumber, cut it in half and remove the seeds. Leaving the peel on, cut the cucumber into a very fine dice and add to the bowl with the candied zest.
  5. Placing the poblano chile over an open gas flame, cook it on all sides until the skin is slightly charred. Use tongs to turn the chili as each side begins to color. Once charred, place the chile in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap for about 20 minutes. Remove the charred skin, seeds and the stem from the cooled chile. Cut the brightly greened parts into a very fine dice, until 2 tablespoons are measured. Add the chile to the cucumber mix along with the juice from ½ of the already zested lime, the cilantro, ½ teaspoon of the infused oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Set this salad mixture aside.
  6. Using a small bowl, bring together the lemon zest and orange, vinegar and salt to your taste. Slice the tomato thinly making 8 wedges and then add it to the marinade. Set aside.
  7. Over low heat warm the infused oil. Season the shrimp with salt and add to the warm oil. If the oil spatters it is too hot, lower heat and wait until no spattering occurs. The shrimp will cook between 4 and 6 minutes, turning only once, until they become pink and firm. Remove the shrimp to paper towels to drain.
  8. Thinly slice the avocados after peeling them. Brush a light amount of the lime syrup onto the surface of each of eight small serving plates. At one end of the brushstroke, place a single shrimp. Put several thin slices of the avocado next to the shrimp. Artfully place one wedge of the marinated tomato between the shrimp and the avocado slices. Using a fork (to remove as much of the liquid as possible) place the cucumber salad in a small uniform line at the end of the avocado slices so it touches them. Proudly serve your Olive Oil Poached Shrimp to your sure to be impressed family and friends.


About Chef Lia Bardeen

Chef contestant, Lia Bardeen appeared in the Bravo channels TOP CHEF series in its third season. She brought an array of good recipes and creative uses for the obscure ingredients during her stay, making her one of the favorites to take the $100K win. Her skills and calm demeanor took her far in the competition, but she missed out on the win, leaving behind many fulfilling and challenging recipes for us to choose from.

Originally Lia set out studying literature as her major. However, when she discovered her passion for cooking she set her sights on becoming a great chef. She is currently the Executive sous chef at Manhattan's elite Jean Georges restaurant, where the self-taught chef knew that to become a great chef, she would have to work under the best chef. She considers her signature style to be eclectic. This self-starter finds that she can be proud of whatever she creates and consistently takes a positive view of her talents, confirming that Confidence breeds greatness!

Personal Stats For Chef Lia Bardeen

  • Age: 28
  • Hometown: Tacoma, Washington; currently residing in Brooklyn, New York
  • Profession: Executive Sous Chef, Jean Georges
  • Culinary Education: Self-taught
  • Favorite simple summer recipe: Guacamole

Comments for, "Olive Oil Poached Shrimp"

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  • Lady_E profile image

    Elena 7 years ago from London, UK

    This is one of your best Recipes. I also like the fact it has avocado's. Thanks for the step by step guide. I'd love to give it a try.

    Also: there is a website you might be interested in.

    You can submit Recipe's and get paid for it. I don't write there as I'm not good at cooking, but if you do join - Good Luck. :)