This sort of delicately flavoured dish is a legacy of Caterina de’ Medici’s Renaissance cuisine. It was probably transported to France, along with many other superb recipes, when she left Florence as a child bride with her retinue of cooks, in order to teach the French about cooking! In Tuscany you would most probably find this dish featured as a first course.
Peel the shrimps carefully, put the flesh to one side and pound the heads and shells in a pestle and mortar to a smooth paste. Alternatively whizz the heads and shells in a food processor for about 2 minutes. Push the paste through a sieve.
Heat the milk until just boiling. Meanwhile, melt about three quarters of the butter in a heavy-bottomed
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