Poached Shrimp with Creamed Corn, Marinated Tomatoes, Butter Beans, and Basil

Kevin Gillespie

Woodfire Grill, Atlanta, GA

Kevin Gillespie wowed the judges on Top Chef with his simple and focused food. At his 2010 Beard House dinner, he wowed diners with this olive oil–poached laughing bird shrimp, a tiny, sweet variety from the Caribbean. (If you can’t find them, substitute any other small shrimp.) Butter beans are a popular produce item in the South; lima beans make a fine stand-in.


Marinated Tomatoes:

  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • 1 sprig basil
  • 1 sprig tarragon
  • 1 pint small cherry tomatoes (preferably a mix of red and yellow)
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste
  • Olive oil as needed


  • 1 pound laughing bird shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Olive oil as needed

Creamed Corn:

  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 small Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • Kernels from 4 ears of corn
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 cup fresh butter beans
  • Basil leaves for garnish


For the tomatoes, preheat the oven to 150ºF. Make a marinade by mixing together the onions, balsamic vinegar, garlic, parsley, basil, and tarragon in a large baking dish. Place the tomatoes on top in a single layer and sprinkle with salt and sugar. Add enough olive oil to just cover the tomatoes. Place in the oven for 1 hour. Remove and reserve at room temperature.

For the shrimp, arrange the shrimp in a single layer in a large pot and add enough olive oil to just cover them. Turn on a low flame and heat the oil to 160ºF. (The oil should start to bubble at the edges.) When the shrimp are barely cooked through, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the oil. Allow the oil to cool to at least 115ºF. Return the shrimp to the cooled oil and reserve at room temperature.

For the creamed corn, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over low heat. Sauté the onions and garlic until soft and translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes. While the vegetables cook, mix the corn kernels with the cream and season with salt and pepper. Once the vegetables are very soft, add the corn and increase the heat to medium-high, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter and remove from heat.

To serve, place a small pool of corn in the center of each plate. Remove the cherry tomatoes from the baking dish and place a few of them on top of each serving of corn. Toss the butter beans with a few tablespoons of the olive oil that was used to marinate the tomatoes. Place a few beans on top of the tomatoes and corn. Top with a few shrimp and garnish with basil leaves.


6 servings