There is nothing better when the summer sun is shinning bright and you got the sea breeze in your hair to enjoy a great Belgian classic like tomate crevettes : tomato and grey shrimp. The North Sea shrimp is special to the region and packs great flavour combined with in-season Belgian tomatoes and lettuce with homemade mayonnaise, what more could you wish for. Happy summer everyone!
As part of a series of Belgian dishes posted every first Wednesday of the month, I vow to demystify these uber Belgian classics for you. Step-by-step I will show you what to do, this will have you successfully recreate those gorgeous rustic Belgian flavours you discovered In Belgium.
CREVETTES or SHRIMP – Found mostly in the Southern North Sea this shrimp is also called brown (UK) or grey shrimp in French and Dutch. This grey shrimp lives in shallow water and are typically about 3 to 5 cm. They feed at night and stay buried in the sand during the day hiding from predators. Traditionally to catch them at low tide horses dragged a grate with net on the bottom of the sea . They are boiled and sold unpeeled and peeled. Check out the site and go see in Oost-Duinkerke/Koksijde the shrimp fisherman on horseback, an UNESCO heritage, click HERE
TOMATO – The Belgian tomatoes are coming into season this summer a bit earlier than normal due to the recent hot weeks we enjoyed. Choose a round fleshy and sturdy tomato with an easy to scoop out core. But any tomato works. The trick is to slice a sliver of the bottom to keep them standing up. Some variations of this recipe show the tomatoes skinned by submerging them for a few minutes in boiling water and peeling the skin off. This technique is called émonder in French.
LETTUCE – this simple yet delicious leave can be grown all year around and is traditionally served with the tomates aux crevettes but of course any salad leave works. Ancient Egyptians discovered the weed and made oil from the seeds. Later the Greeks (and than Romans) adopted and named the leave which became lettuce in English later.
MAYONNAISE – 3 simple ingredients ( mustard, egg yolk and vegetable oil) and a bit of elbow grease is all you need. This is my favourite condiment, I could literally eat it straight from the jar ( and I have, don’t judge pls). I don’t always make it from scratch as our Belgian shop bought mayo is good. I find that some UK or US brands tend to be sweeter, I like the hint of mustard in ours.
STEP 1 : Turn the head of lettuce over and make a square incision around the center. and cut half way the way down.
STEP 2: Peel each leave back and wash them. Cut the hard central nerve out of the leaves and layer them on the plate.
STEP 3: With scissors cut the tomato for the stem leaving it’s crown attached. Cut a thin sliver of the bottom of the tomato so it can stand up right without wobbling. Don’t cut to deep so the tomato will leek. Slice the crown off the tomato about 0.5 -1 cm from the top.
STEP 4: empty the core of the tomatoes with a spoon. You can freeze and reuse the juices and core in a dressing, soup or stock.
STEP 5: mix the grey shrimp with mayonnaise and season with salt and pepper. Stuff each hollowed out tomato. Place back the crown on top of each tomato and place them on the bed of lettuce.
My shrimp stuffed tomato
Yield 4 tomato
- 4 round tomatoes
- 1 head of lettuce
- 250 gr grey shrimp, cooked and shelled
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- salt and pepper
- Cut a square around the back of the lettuce and cut halfway down in the leaves. Pull the leaves from eh core and wash them. Ley them on the serving plate.
- Wash the tomatoes, cut them away from the stems and leave the crowns on.
- Cut a thin sliver of the bottom of the tomatoes to keep them upright. Slice the crown of the tomato at about 0.5 cm and reserve.
- Empty the core of the tomatoes. Mix the shrimp with the mayonnaise and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Fill the tomatoes with the shrimp mayo mixture and place them on the bed of lettuce. Place the crown back on top and serve.
on www.leeksandhighheels.com by Sandra Slawinski
Written and photographed by Sandra Slawinski without commercial deals. I used my plates and cutlery ZaraHome and Dille & Kamille. Knives Wusthof.