New Orleans is home to some of the finest regional cuisine in the United States, if not the world! I know, a strong statement to make, but the unique flavor complexities and richness of New Orleans food make it unarguably delicious and justifiably famous. It’s also the reason I have several recipes from the city already blogged (with many more planned over the months and years to come)!
One of the great signature dishes of the city is BBQ shrimp, which despite its name never goes near a barbecue or barbecue sauce. Instead, it uses the finest, freshest head-on shrimp cooked with a spiced and herbed garlic butter in an oven or on the range top. It is judiciously seasoned with Worcestershire sauce, beer and other ingredients that make it one of the messiest and most wonderful dishes you’ll ever eat as you peel the shrimp and devour the sauce you’ve sopped up with bread.
The dish is said to have originated at Pascal’s Manale restaurant located in the Garden District of New Orleans, where they’ve been making barbeque shrimp since 1913. It has since spread to homes and restaurants throughout the city.
My version has the trademark TFD flavor complexity and hews very close to the classic recipe. I have adjusted the herbs and spices to my preference and added one very optional ingredient – a touch of liquid smoke that I find really enhances all the other flavors. By all means leave it out if you prefer a classic version of the recipe.
Citizens – this is absolutely a ridiculously high calorie/diet destroyer recipe. TFD heartily encourages us all to live a little and enjoy this recipe with gusto and abandon!
Battle on – The Generalissimo
2 pounds butter (Yes, you read right. Two pounds. Eight sticks)
2 tablespoons Paul Prudhonme’s Creole Seasoning (highly preferred), made as follows (with lots leftover for later use):
½ Cup Kosher Salt
⅓ Cup Paprika
¼ Cup Granulated Garlic
4 Tbsp Onion Powder
⅓ Cup Freshly Ground Black Pepper
3 Tbsp White Pepper
2 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper
2 Tbsp Dried Thyme
2 Tbsp Dried Basil
1 Tbsp Dried Oregano
Combine all ingredients and place in an airtight jar or plastic container.
Or just use 2-3 teaspoons cayenne pepper mixed with 3-4 teaspoons freshly-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely minced rosemary leaves
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
6 ounces good beer (microbrewery strongly preferred)
8-10 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 medium onion, very finely minced
3 ribs celery, de-stringed and very finely minced
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 ½ teaspoons Liquid Smoke (hickory) – optional
1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
4 pounds shrimp, heads and shells on
Melt a stick of the butter in a skillet. Saute the garlic, onions, celery, parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano and other spices for about 3 minutes.
Melt the rest of the butter. Add the beer (drink the rest of the bottle) and the liquid smoke (if using). Add the sauteed items plus their butter, as well as the Worcestershire and lemon juice.
Cover the shrimp in the seasoned butter, using as many baking dishes as you require. Make sure the shrimp are pretty much submerged. If they’re not…melt more butter and add it to the sauce. Bake in a 350 degree oven until the shrimp just turn pink, about 15 minutes.
Serve in big bowls. Put in a handful of shrimp and ladle lots of the spicy butter sauce over it. Roll up your sleeves and wear a bib (DO NOT wear nice clothes when eating this!) Serve with plenty of French bread (or heretically, pasta) to sop up the delicious shrimp-flavored butter sauce!