I had a dish similar to this in a small restaurant in Mexico, and at Gloria’s request, I created my own version at home. I use medium-size raw shrimp and puree the tails in a food processor, then combine the puree with pieces of the shrimp to form thick burgers.
Cut the shrimp crosswise in half. Process the tail pieces into a puree in a food processor and transfer to a bowl.
Cut the remaining shrimp into 1/2-inch pieces and add them to the bowl. Add the chives and mix well. Divide the mixture into 4 equal parts and form each one into a burger about 1 inch thick. (These can be made a few hours ahead and refrigerated.)
When ready to cook, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the zucchini with 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper and saute over high heat for 4 to 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in another large skillet with a lid. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper on the shrimp patties and place them carefully in the hot butter. Cook for about 1 1/2 minutes over high heat, then gently turn the burgers over. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, until the burgers are barely cooked through.
Arrange the zucchini on four warm plates. Place the shrimp burgers on top, sprinkle with the chives, and serve.
From Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen by Jacques Pépin, Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt October 2015.
Jacques Pépin is a chef, cookbook author and teacher who has published 26 books and hosted 11 public television cooking series. A former columnist for The New York Times, Pépin is a contributing editor to Food & Wine magazine. In 2004 he was awarded the French Legion of Honor. He is also the first recipient of the Julia Child Award. Since 1998 he has been dean of special programs at the French Culinary Institute in New York. Pépin is a founder of the American Institute of Wine and Food.