Tuesday, April 20, 2010

First Recipe

Families, especially in Louisiana, come together over food.The need of sustenance is something that we all share.Cooking or the preparation of food can also be something that brings people together. Thinking back to when my wife and I first got married, cooking (and eating) was one of the things that helped solidify our partnership.My wife knew almost nothing about how to cook when we were first married, so I taught her.The sharing that we had in this teaching and learning relationship is something that I will always cherish and remember fondly. I was able to share with her because my parents shared with me. My father, in particular, taught me about food and cooking. Some of my favorite lessons from him came in the kitchen. He taught me how to cook a number of dishes, but the first one that I really worked on and felt like I became expert on was New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp (which by has nothing to do with what most people know to be barbecue). I think the original recipe came from Pascal Manale’s Restaurant on Napoleon Avenue in New Orleans. The version that we started with came from The Frugal Gourmet, Jeff Smith. The version that I am including in this blog is the one that I have molded to my own over the course of 20-something years (this is my wife’s favorite dish that I fix).

Ingredients (serves 4-6):
2 lbs butter
½ lb bacon
4-6 tbsp Creole mustard (I prefer Zatarain’s)
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
10 cloves minced or pressed garlic
1 cup chopped onions (I prefer white)
4 tsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp Tabasco sauce
2 tsp liquid crab boil
2 tsp oregano
Kosher salt and fresh-cracked black pepper to taste
4 lbs Gulf Shrimp with heads on

*Slightly cook the bacon (do not crisp, just render off some of the fat) and then chop it up. You may omit this step if you like.
*In a large sauté pan or Dutch oven combine all the ingredients excluding the garlic, lemon juice, crab boil, and shrimp. Sauté on low heat until onions begin to get clear.
*Raise the temperature to a medium heat and add the remaining ingredients including shrimp with head list on. Mix the shrimp into the sauce thoroughly. At this point there are two options to finish the dish:
1. You can continue to cook the shrimp in the sauté pan with the sauce until the shrimp turn just past opaque and the rinds turn orange. Do not overcook the shrimp.
2. Take your Dutch oven and cook uncovered in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. This should cook from between 12-15 mins. The dish is ready when the shrimp turn just past opaque and the rinds turn orange. (Either way is good. If I am serving it over pasta I usually cook it in the sauté pan and if I am eating the shrimp as a stand alone I usually finish them off in the oven)
*Serve this dish with crusty French bread and/or over angel hair pasta. You may or may not eat the shrimp with the shell on but it is very important to the outcome of the dish to cook it with the shell on.

What was the first real recipe that you learned? Post a comment below to share your first recipe. Save travels – go in peace.


Ruby Garcia said...

I loved this recipe that you made for us in Lady's night in the Multupurpose Building IT WAS

Carlos said...

Thanks Ruby. Do you have a recipe you would like to share?

Chad Estes said...

This looks fantastic! I'm excited to give this recipe a try some day soon!

Starla Espinoza said...

My first real recipe was Meatloaf and I like to think that I have mine down to an art. I am extremely interested in giving your recipe a try. That is right up our alley so thank you for sharing that. I will let you know how it goes.

Jeremy Bates said...

hmmmmm.. looks so delicious:)