Shrimp Quenelles

When I was ten years old I started collecting old cookbooks and cooking magazines from the local used bookstore, and I amassed quite a large collection.  I had a fairly complete set of old Gourmet magazines, as well as a strange variety of cookbooks, ranging from spiral-bound, regional fair collections to James Beard and Julia Child.  I read them for fun, experiencing them as travel stories and introductions to exotic places (exotic was pretty broadly defined for me at the age of ten). In the process I comically mispronounced an awful lot of foreign cooking terms, but I wouldn’t know that until I was in college.

Given the fascination with French cooking that dominated the eras of my collection, a great deal of my early knowledge of cooking was based on those flavors and techniques.  Quenelles were one of my first in-the-kitchen experiments, and I still enjoy making savory versions with fish and shellfish.  They are versatile and texturally interesting.

Shrimp Quenelles

A quenelle is essentially an oval-shaped dumpling of some sort, and the savory types are typically made with a mousseline of fish or meat.  The technique of forming the oval shape is fairly simple, but it does take a few tries to get the swing of it.  You use two spoons of equal size to scoop the mixture into football shape.  This video has a good visual illustration.  They are often poached in some sort of broth, and from there you have a lot of options.  I made a double batch and used half for a simple soup with spring vegetables, using the poaching stock as the soup base.  The second half I refrigerated (do not refrigerate them in the poaching liquid for this, or they will be soggy) and I have been using them as a type of seafood sausage for breakfast.  Just toss them in a skillet with some ghee or olive oil and brown them well on all sides.  If you are suffering from breakfast boredom, these will really help.

Shrimp Quenelles

5.0 from 1 reviews
Shrimp Quenelles
Recipe type: Main Dish, Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 pound raw, wild shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup coconut cream (the solid part from the top of a can of coconut milk), or heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • fish or chicken stock, for poaching
  1. Place all of your ingredients except the stock in a food processor, and pulse until the mixture is fairly smooth. You may have to scrape down the sides once or twice to get an even consistency. Refrigerate the mixture for a half hour.
  2. In a deep skillet or a wok pan, heat about a quart of stock to a simmer--you want at least two inches of liquid to be able to poach the quenelles. When the stock comes to a simmer, use two spoons to form the shrimp mixture into quenelles, and drop them into the stock. Repeat until you have a total of 8 or 9 quenelles. Let them simmer for 6-8 minutes, turning them once. Do not let the stock boil, just keep it at a simmer.
  3. Once the quenelles are cooked through, either drain them well before storing them for another use, or add lightly steamed vegetables to the pot and serve hot as a soup course.

Shrimp Quenelles

While these are slightly fussy to make, it is easy to double the recipe and enjoy them in different ways over the course of a week.  They are also great topped with a mushroom sauce and heated under a broiler.  It’s definitely a fun project when you have the time to play with your food.

Thanks for reading,


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14 Responses to Shrimp Quenelles

  1. Ann Kitalong-Will March 17, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    Yum! Do you have any recommendations for substituting the coconut flour?(gluten-free, preferably).

    • Angela March 17, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

      Ann, you could use a tablespoon or two of cornstarch or arrowroot, or a couple of tablespoons of garbanzo flour. Coconut flour sucks up a whole lot of liquid, but honestly these would work even without any kind of flour, it just helps to stabilize them a bit.

  2. Karen Harris March 17, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

    What a nice break from the ordinary. I can’t wait to make these. I have some shrimp in the freezer from the last Whole Foods sale. Yum! I’m excited!

    • Angela March 17, 2013 at 6:45 pm #

      Yay! It’s fun to mix it up.

  3. Scarlet of Family Focus Blog March 17, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

    Wow never heard of it but it looks great!

    • Angela March 18, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

      Thanks, Scarlet!

  4. Tina Verrelli March 18, 2013 at 5:26 am #

    You are inspiring me to experiment more with seafood!! Love the story!

    • Angela March 18, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

      Thanks, Tina!

  5. Diana March 18, 2013 at 5:45 am #

    That looks like a recipe for this week.

    • Angela March 18, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

      I hope you like them :)

  6. Megan @ Allergy Free Alaska March 18, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

    These remind me so much of the Filipino style shrimp fritters my MIL makes. You have me drooling! Any idea if these would do okay fried?

    • Angela March 18, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

      Megan I am pretty sure you could fry them and I think they would be delicious–they have a fairly high water content, so they will pop a bit as they fry, so be careful! Now I want to try Filipino style shrimp fritters…will have to investigate.

  7. Jersey Girl Cooks March 19, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    I have not had these before but they remind me of shrimp matzo balls. I bet they are very yummy!


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