Bridging the gulf shrimp

Those familiar with my work have probably noticed that I almost never use sous vide to process seafood. This is not because I do not like “fruits de mere.” This is because sous vide really does not offer much benefit to most of the oceans’ citizens. With the exception of octopus, maritime proteins don’t usually require tenderization–quite the opposite, actually. Steps are taken in the cooking processes to PREVENT tenderization.

Beyond that, pasteurizing seafood doesn’t really extend the shelf life very much, so scratch that. That leaves us with uniform appearance of doneness all the way through, which seafood usually does pretty much on its own. Even so, we have an application here that works well for prawns/shrimp.


Serves 4
Level of difficulty 3

Raw shrimp/prawns, 1 lb/450 g, peeled or unpeeled. If peeling is necessary, it is easier to accomplish AFTER cooking.
Celery, I use the pale, inner stalks, 6 oz/175 g, fine diced–large enough to provide texture, small enough to not be plainly visible to the naked eye.
Sweet red bell pepper, 1 oz/30 g, chopped fine just like the celery.
Onion, 1 oz.30 g, chopped very fine.
Kosher salt, a pinch.
White pepper, a tiny pinch.
Mayonnaise, approximately 3 oz/90 g.
Garlic powder, a pinch.

Avocado, 1 each.
Lemon juice, a few drops.
Parsley, chopped, as needed.

Celery hearts, as explained HERE, 4 each.

Optional accouterments:

Balsamic syrup or molasses vinegar to drizzle.
Catalina dressing to drizzle.
Shellfish aioli to drizzle.

Celery is a vegetable

Celery and prawns can be processed at the same temperature, but the vegetable takes a lot longer to denature than the prawns do. For a detailed explanation of how to prepare celery hearts, visit HERE.

Preheat your sous vide bath to
183 F/84 C

Vacuum seal the celery hearts and process them for one hour as explained in the link above. Shock in iced water until they achieve 70 F/21 C and then refrigerate at 40 F/4 C until use. Vacuum the prawns in one layer and process for 10-15 minutes, until they are completely pink and “springy” to the touch. Shock the prawns just like you did the celery.


Toss the celery hearts with a few drops of vegetable oil and grill in a 350 F/176 C saute pan or cast iron broiler. Set aside to cool.

Peel the prawns if necessary and reserve 4 for the garnish. Chop the rest into uniform pieces, slightly larger than the chopped celery. Lightly toss the prawns, chopped celery, red bell pepper, onion, kosher salt, white pepper, and garlic powder together. Add chopped parsley and then the mayonnaise in small amounts. Stir gently until the dry ingredients are just coated enough to hold shape–this is important. Vacuum in a cylinder shape if desired. The salad can also be loaded into a small cup and then carefully turned out at service if necessary or preferred. Set aside.

Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit, scoop out with a large spoon and carefully cut into fine dice. Sprinkle with a few drops of lemon. Vacuum in a square “cookie cutter” or similar device. Again, this is optional and is not part of the chemistry–only of the appearance.


Arrange the components on the plate as desired, dot with dressings/syrups as to your preference. Cut each extra prawn almost in half and stack on top. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

You can do this

Norm King