Rock shrimp with polenta cake

Rock shrimp with polenta cake, brandied leeks and shiitake mushrooms
Serves 4 as a Starter

Polenta Cake:
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup milk
1 tbs butter
1 tbs onions small diced
½ cup fresh milled polenta such as Anson Mills
¼ cup parmesan cheese.
Salt and Fresh cracked pepper to taste

Heat 4 quart sauce pan on medium heat and melt butter. When butter foams add onions and sauté until soft and translucent. Add milk and stock. Bring to simmer and slowly whisk in polenta. Cook 25-30 minutes stirring occasionally. When cooked add salt and pepper and parmesan cheese. Pour into a rectangular dish that has been lightly buttered. Cool for 1 hour until firm. Cut into desired shape. Place 4 polenta cakes on a buttered sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Until golden brown.

Brandied Leeks:
½ cup leeks, julienned
2 tsp butter
2 tsp olive oil
4 tbsp. brandy
Salt to taste

Heat butter and olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add leeks and cook a few minutes until very soft. Add brandy and cook a few more minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt. Set aside.

Rock Shrimp, Brandied Leeks and Shiitake Mushrooms:
2 tsp. butter
2 tsp. olive oil
1 cup rock shrimp
2 clove garlic, sliced thinly
6 shiitake mushrooms, julienned
3 tbsp. white wine
3/4 cup cream
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. fresh tarragon, chopped small

In large sauté pan, over medium heat melt butter and add olive oil. Add garlic and cook a few minutes until garlic is soft. Add mushrooms and continue cooking. Add rock shrimp and cook a few minutes. Deglaze with white wine and cook until almost reduced to dry stage. Add cream; lower the heat and simmer just long enough till cream reduces a small amount. Turn off the heat. Season with salt and fresh cracked black pepper add tarragon and lemon juice. To serve spoon sauce and rock shrimp over polenta cake.

Event information:

Gourmet East Bay
Sponsored by Diablo Magazine
Saturday, November 1, 2008
7 to 10 p.m.
Broadway Plaza, Walnut Creek
Premier Food & Wine Tastings, Dancing to Live Music, Silent Auction and Raffle
Tickets are $70 in advance and $75 at the door.
Must be 21 and over.
Tickets are still available at

Proceeds from the event benefit Alameda County Community Food Bank, Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, and Project Open Hand. This delicious event features offerings from dozens of restaurants, wineries, and breweries, and dancing to the tunes of Big Bang Beat.

And don't miss Restaurant Week, November 2-9, when top restaurants in the East Bay offer prix fixe meals at bargain prices ($20 for lunch and $30 for dinner). Esin will be participating in Restaurant Week so if you're been wanting to check it out, here's your opportunity.

For tickets and more information go to

Restaurant featured in this segment:

Esin Restaurant
750 Camino Ramon
Danville, CA 94526
(925) 314-0974

Curtis & Esin deCarion, chefs/owners of Esin Restaurant in Danville
Curtis & Esin deCarion come from 2 very different backgrounds. Curtis is from Miami and Esin from Turkey. They both grew up with a real love for food and fresh ingredients. The two met in culinary school at Johnson & Wales in Charleston, S.C. where they married and then moved to the Bay Area. Esin being from Turkey grew up eating natural fresh ingredients straight from the farms. The farmers, bakers, and butchers loaded their wagons & brought their goods to her family 2 or 3 times a day. This was the only way she new to eat. After culinary school Esin worked at Evvia in Palo Alto as Chef d'Cuisine where the food of the Mediterranean came to her naturally.

Curtis's training while coming up was classically French under Chefs Jean Banchet from Le Francais and Tom Coohil at City Grill in Atlanta, Ga. This training gave him the basis for preparations and execution. It wasn't until moving to the Bay Area that Curtis was taken by the incredibly fresh & local ingredients that California had to offer. After working at MacArthur Park in Palo Alto and earning 3 stars at Paragon in San Francisco where he worked with his wife Esin as Co-Chefs, the two knew what they always wanted to do was have their own place.

In 1998 Curtis & Esin opened Café Esin a 40 seat neighborhood bistro in San Ramon. This was the kind of place the duo would to dine, good quality food, fair prices, and great service. After being welcomed by the residents and two expansions the two closed Cafe Esin in June of 2008 to reopen in Danville. In August of 2008 the couple re-opened Esin Restaurant & Bar. They continue to create farm fresh food that is well prepared and treated with respect. "Esin & I believe every guest comes first and they deserve to have our best efforts every day."

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