If you’re anything like yours truly, you enjoy burning, puffy lips and a runny nose as you eat. Okay, chances are, you are nothing like me; for I am a certified weirdo with my passion for insanely spicy foods. A heat seeker to the point of chaos, I love nothing more than to indulge in hot sauces and spices galore. With my mouth and stomach of steel, I never regret my scorching and oh so satisfying food decisions. In fact, I tend to toot my own horn for superb genetics that have allowed me to devour a mound of food that would make most cringe and wave a white flag after one bite. Along with Thai food, where I always order my noodles and Curry dishes “Thai Hot,” I am also a serious sucker for Creole cuisine. Between my brother’s world famous black roux Gumbo and my delectable and simple Shrimp Creole, I’ve been very fortunate to get my N’awlins food fix on the regular after having not visited the Crescent City in almost 10 years (that little fact is unacceptable and must change soon).
With Mardi Gras quickly approaching, I felt it was only appropriate that I share my Shrimp Creole recipe with you. Not only is it simple, it is a recipe that calls for few (and very easy to find) ingredients. Many of you are scared, I know. Don’t you worry. This recipe is intended to appeal to the masses. With a standard degree of spicy, I can assure you only the “weak” shall quiver.
Simple (Semi Spicy) Shrimp Creole
2 pounds Peeled and de-veined Shrimp (I prefer white over pink)
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery
2 cups chopped white or yellow onions
½ cup Canola oil
½ stick butter
3 medium tomatoes, chopped (with all of their juices)
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
2 bay leaves
½ cup green onions, chopped
1 cup water
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon Cayenne Pepper (2 tablespoons for the daring & 2 teaspoons for the weak)
1 tablespoon Tobasco Hot sauce (for a milder, less vinegar-y sauce, I like Crystal)
1 ½ tablespoons Creole/Cajun seasoning (any brand will do)
¼ cup parsley (for garnish)
Cooked Long Grain white rice
1) In a large saucepan (preferably Stainless steel), heat Canola oil and ¼ stick butter over medium heat. Add the “Trinity” (celery, green pepper, onion). Season with salt. Sauté for 10-12 minutes, or until softened.
2) Add bay leaves, tomatoes (canned and fresh), garlic, ground Cayenne pepper and remaining butter (1/4 stick). Continue to cook over a light boil for 12-15 minutes. Add ½ cup water if mixture gets too thick and dry.
3) Using your flour and water, create a “slurry” (mixture of flour and water) with a whisk in a small bowl. Add the slurry to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes.
4) Evenly coat your shrimp with the Creole seasoning and add to the pan along with the Tobasco sauce (or preferred hot sauce).
5) Cook for another 5 minutes or until the shrimp turn pick and firm up.
6) Stir in green onions and parsley.
7) Spoon over white rice.
This dish pairs so wonderfully with a hot crusty loaf of French bread. In fact, on my “diet days off” I’ve even substituted rice entirely for some torn pieces of the flaky, crunchy, doughy goodness. Pouring the steamy shrimp and tomato mixture onto bread is one stellar soupy shrimp sandwich party for your mouth! So hot, so heavenly. Enjoy.
P.S. Maybe, just maybe, in honor of Mardi Gras...I'll convince my brother to give me his recipe for the Dark Roux Chicken and Sausage Gumbo that has gained him more and more friends each time he's prepared it. Look out for it come February...