Eight Days to Mardi Gras!


If we can’t make it to New Orleans in time for the festivities this year, the bon temps will come to us, and on a plate too.  Shrimp Creole is a perfect taste of the city: spicy, savory, even a bit rambunctious.  How can you not have a good time when tomatoes, cayenne and garlic all have been invited to the party?

The dish is spicy, unmistakably so, but the rice it’s ladled over is an ideal platform for the performance.  After you savor a bite of succulent shrimp, use the rice to sop up the bold, spirited sauce.  Just fantastic.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, the recipe is Emeril Lagasse’s, and a nearly-exact replica of the same may be found here, on his web page.  Why not just link to the recipe I used (and which appears below)?  It no longer exists, apparently, at least not on the web.

The original inspiration was on Food Network’s site, so when I was searching for ideas a couple months ago, the recipe appealed and I printed it for later use.  When I went to link back to it just now, though, it was gone.  Emeril’s version of Shrimp Creole started this whole process, so if Food Network no longer features it, why not consult the source himself?  As mentioned, the instructions below are almost identical.

Enough of those mundane details; let’s talk about the food!

*****

Shrimp Creole

·    4 ounces (1 stick) butter

·    2 cups chopped onions (*1)

·    1 cup chopped bell pepper (*2)

·    1 cup chopped celery (*3)

·    salt and cayenne

·    2 bay leaves

·    2 pounds peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes (*4)

·    1 tablespoon chopped garlic

·    dash of Worcestershire sauce

·    dash of hot sauce

·    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

·    1 cup water

·    2 and 1/2 pounds of shrimp, peeled and deveined

·    1/2 cup chopped green onions

·    2 tablespoons chopped parsley

 

“Essence” Seasoning for the Shrimp

·    2 and 1/2 tablespoons paprika

·    2 tablespoons salt

·    2 tablespoons garlic powder

·    1 tablespoon black pepper

·    1 tablespoon onion powder

·    1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

·    1 tablespoon dried oregano

·    1 tablespoon dried thyme

 

In a stockpot over medium heat melt the butter.  Add the onions, peppers and celery to the pan and season with salt and cayenne.  Sautee the vegetables until they are wilted, 6 to 8 minutes.

Stir in the bay leaves, tomatoes and garlic.  When the mixture begins to boil reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Season the mixture with Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce.  In a separate bowl whisk together the flour and the water.  Add this to the tomato mixture and continue cooking for 4 to 6 minutes.

Season the shrimp with Essence. (*5)  Add the shrimp to the tomato mixture and cook for about six minutes, until the shrimp turn pink.  Stir in the green onions and parsley and serve over rice.

*****

NOTES:

1 – You know I used shallots, right?  Of course.  Two cups works out to two large shallots.

2 – 1 cup is one large bell pepper.

3 – Be sure to include lots of celery leaves with this, as that’s where most of the flavor is.

4 – Go to the trouble of peeling and seeding the tomatoes if you have time to kill, but otherwise it’s not worth all the effort.  I just chopped the tomatoes and added everything to the cookpot.  It pretty much reduces down anyway by the time the dish is ready.

5 – Actually, the first thing I did was season the shrimp, then they sat in the fridge while I prepared the vegetables.  The seasoning is a dry rub and letting it sit on the shrimp for a while allows the flavors to “marinate” everything more deeply.

 

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