Bar-B-Que shrimp, Bar-B-Que shrimp! Oh man I loves me some Bar-B-Que shrimp!
If you follow my columns then you know one of my favorite places to visit for the food is New Orleans. Crawfish Etouffee, red beans and rice, gumbo and jambalaya.
But it’s not always possible to travel to NOLA on a food whim.
Although I wish I could.
So I often try and replicate some of my favorite NOLA treats at home.
And I’ve failed often at recreating the scrumptiousness that I’ve tasted while in the Big Easy.
Maybe it’s because in NOLA you can have authentic beignets at the world famous Café’ Du Monde on Decatur Street in the heart of the French Quarter with the Mississippi River just feet away.
Oh Yeah, all covered with powdered sugar and washed down with their Chicory coffee Au Lait.
It’s difficult to even come close to the Po’ Boys served in the Mid-City district at Parkway subs, which has been serving up the classic Crescent city sandwich since the early 1900s.
It’s hard to create the flavors without the right boudin sausage or the perfect butter and flour roux.
NOLA food speaks to me. The root of Cajun and Creole food is based on the rich infusion of Caribbean spices, primarily from Haiti, the European influence of French techniques and saucy and spices from Spain.
Similar to the influences that make up most of the Cuban food I grew up eating.
After much experimentation I finally found a NOLA dish I could easily make at home using a true Georgia staple – Sweet Georgia sourced shrimp!
It’s quick, easy and appeals to my Latin taste buds.
First, make sure you get fresh local Georgia shrimp and the bigger the better.
I like the 26-30 or larger (26-30 means there are about 26-30 shrimp in a pound. Colossal means the shrimp are so big that about 10-15 make up a pound).
Using a sharp knife (carefully please) I cut along the back of the shrimp, just deep enough to be able to remove the vein.
Don’t peel the shell off. That is the flavor saver during the marinating and cooking process.
Here is what you need:
Shrimp (I prefer fresh local shrimp but I did try this with frozen shrimp from the store and it was just as delish).
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon of your favorite BBQ sauce
1 tablespoon of butter
Tony Chachere’s Creole spice
The marinade is simple. I place the shrimp in a bowl add a little bit of Olive oil, minced garlic and shake the Creole spice over the shrimp to coat. Stir it up and let them sit while you prepare the pan.
In a sauce pan I place a tablespoon of Olive oil and set the temp to medium high. When the oil gets hot I add the BBQ sauce and tabasco. Stir that quickly and toss in the shrimp with oil and minced garlic.
The shrimp cooks quick, it only need three to four minutes or until pink on both sides. As it cooks I sprinkle a little more Creole sauce. Right before the shrimp is done I add the butter. Let that butter melt and give everything one final stir.
Take the shrimp off the heat, pour them over a bed of cooked white rice and get ready to get MESSY!
No utensils required. Well okay you’ll need a fork to eat your rice, but save that for last…Trust me.
Grab a shrimp by the tail and before you start peeling it stick that sucker in your mouth and SLURP. By leaving the shell on during the cooking process all the great and spicy sauce creeps into the small crevices and melds with the briny water released from the shrimp during the cooking process.
FEEL THE HEAT….oh so good at the back of the throat. Peel the shrimp, dip it into the sauce on your plate and chomp down.
As they say in NOLA "laissez les bon temps rouler" (Let the good times roll). In this case let that savory spicy shrimp roll across your taste buds.
The rice will also soak up that sauce adding depth and flavor.
Yes, please and thank you.
It may be a recipe inspired by NOLA, but a this meal makes my southern heart feel, “as fat as a tick.”