Fork-In-The-Road Recipes: Creole Shrimp

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Serves 4 | Prep Time 15 | Cook Time 40

Why I Love This Recipe

This shrimp dish is New Orleans-inspired, the kind of saucy shrimp that is served at many a Big Easy restaurant, along with plenty of crusty bread for sopping up the sauce. Often times the shrimp is cooked and served in its shell, which is messy, but fun to eat ... unless you don't find peel-and-eat shrimp fun at all, but just messy. This version calls for peeling the shrimp, but leaving on the tails, which function as little handles. They also serve to call attention to how many shrimp you have eaten, so some of us (read: me) often have to hide some of the tails under a stray piece of salad or something to avoid looking gluttonous.

So, on to the Fork-in-the-Road element. A Creole-esque spice blend is made, with generous amounts of heat and flavor, and set to the side. Then the shrimp is sautéed up in a simple buttery sauce spiked with a bit of garlic, Worcestershire and lemon juice. The alcohol in the small amount of white wine burns off during cooking. At this point you can remove some of the shrimp and a bit of sauce, which should be plain enough for those with milder tastes. And then, pow right in the kisser, the spice blend is added to the rest, and both the shrimp and the sauce are infused with those I-won't-be-ignored seasonings that make Creole food so crazy appealing.

The quantities of the spice mix given below are intended for the whole 1 1/2 pounds shrimp. If you take out 1/2 pound of shrimp, add 2 tablespoons of the spice mix to the remaining pound of shrimp in the skillet, then taste and see if you want to add the rest of the blend. Leftover spice mix is great to toss into a soup, or to rub on a piece of chicken, steak, or fish for that Louisiana flavor.

Ingredients You'll Need

For the Creole Spice Mix:
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teasppon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon coarse or Kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

For the Shrimp:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
1 1/2 pounds extra large raw shrimp (26/30 count), peeled and deveined, but with the tails left on
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Hot cooked white rice and hot crusty bread for serving


Combine the paprika, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, cayenne, salt and black pepper in a small bowl and set aside.

In a large skillet melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute until it is fragrant and beginning to color. Turn up the heat to medium-high, add the shrimp and sauté for about 2 minutes until the shrimp is starting to turn pink, then add the white wine and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes until the wine starts to reduce. Add the Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice and sauté until the shrimp is just barely cooked though, another minute or so. At this point you can take out 1/3 of the shrimp (about 1/2 pound) for those who like it plainer, transfer them to a small serving bowl, and cover to keep warm. Season those with salt and pepper to taste.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the spice mix, or more to taste, over the remaining shrimp in the pan, (if you are seasoning all 1 1/2 pounds of the shrimp, use all of the spice mix). Stir until spices have dissolved themselves into the sauce and the shrimp is nicely coated with the sauce. Immediately transfer the shrimp and sauce to a shallow serving bowl, sprinkle with parsley, and serve with the hot rice and crusty bread. Serve the plain shrimp with some of the parsley, too, if desired.

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