wildcard wednesday: new orleans style barbecue shrimp


What is it really?

What is it really?

Welcome to the month of April where it is oddly appropriate to deceive friends, so I thought I would kick off our series of Wild Card Wednesdays on food from the Mississippi Delta with a deceptive dish. How many of you, like me, fondly remember Benjamin Buford “Bubba” Blue from Forrest Gump listing all the ways to prepare shrimp. The intriguing list went on and on, but on the first thing he says is “you can barbecue it” and well you guys, this is it.

It is deceptive because it is not grilled, not cooked over a flame or even on a flat top. The shrimp is slowly sauteed in a bath of butter, worchestershire and spices. It is almost as though it is mimicking the flavors of barbecue without coming close to a smoker. It is a favorite of New Orleans shrimp joints and fine dining establishments alike, all with different spins, different flavors or techniques, but the basics are always butter, garlic, and worchestershire. More specifically:

Without Lea and Perrins, you are doing it wrong

Without Lea and Perrins, you are doing it wrong

This is actually a very simple dish in execution. It doesn’t take long, has relatively few steps, and it is best served with a big hunk of bread and a bib. With a dish like this, you’ll get messy, get full, and get happy (just like a trip to the place of my birth- New Orleans).

I chose to serve this with grilled broccoli and Fresh Market’s wonderful rosemary and sea salt bread. It was a wonderful compliment to the layers of spices and seafood flavors.

There are few better things than sopping with this bread.

There are few better things than sopping with this bread.


New Orleans Style Barbecue Shrimp

1 1/2 pounds wild caught, shell on shrimp
2 sticks of butter
2 lemons, juiced and peeled
1/2 cup Lea and Perrins Original
1 tbsp kosher salt
1tbsp paprika (the spice of bbq)
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp white pepper
5 whole bay leaves
1/2 tsp minced onion
4 cloves fresh garlic
1Tbsp heavy cream
Green onion to garnish

In a heavy pot, melt the butter over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and add the lemon juice and peel, worchestershire, and all the spices. Bring to a simmer and let it rest for five minutes.

Add the shrimp and bring the heat to medium. Stir until the shrimp start to turn pink. Add the cream. Cover the dish and remove the pan from heat and let it sit for 15 minutes to allow all the flavors to marry.

Transfer to a bowl and top with the green onion.

Dig in with your hands and get to sopping!

Grilled Broccoli
In Emile Henry from Robinson Home

In Emile Henry from Robinson Home



broiled grouper & spicy okra and tomatoes

broiled grouper and spicy okra and tomatoes

As spring (reluctantly) rolls around, I find myself craving all things seafood–both fish and shellfish.  I guess the warmer weather beckons for lighter protein, but unless it’s a zillion degrees outside, I dislike tilapia.  For me, it’s the boneless skinless chicken breast of the sea: plain, bland, and oh-so-forgettable.  In the hotter months, a nice tilapia fillet with garden salsa and avocado is lovely, and I’m also a fan of using them in fish tacos.  I just can’t abide them being the main event for dinner.  Grouper, however, is a meatier fish that’s still delicate and mild.  I think it works great with the okra and tomatoes, and I served both dishes with a side of quinoa and brown rice.

As a true daughter of the American South, I have to confess my love for okra.  Yes, it’s green and slimy, but don’t let that stop you from trying it if you haven’t had it in a while.  The gateway preparation for okra will always be fried okra (best prepared by Macon’s The Bear’s Den, in my opinion), but okra and tomatoes is probably the second most recognizable dish for this earthy delicacy.  This east-meets-west okra recipe gives a nod to both the South and India as this truly southern recipe gets a modern and tasty twist.

Crispy Broiled Grouper
2 grouper fillets
1Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 lemon (zest and juice)

1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
Kosher salt
cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 500 degrees or your broil setting.  Pat fillets dry with a paper towel and set aside.  In a mixing bowl, combine olive oil, Old Bay, dijon mustard, lemon zest, and lemon juice.  Place fillets in the mixing bowl and coat evenly. Line the broiler pan with aluminum foil and place the fillets on the pan.  Bake for 6-8 minutes or until the ends of the fish begin to brown and crisp. 2 servings.

Spicy Okra and Tomatoes
From the Bon Appetit, Y’all Cookbook
1/4 cup canola oil
1 lb. okra cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
1 (28-oz) can tomatoes, chopped, with juices (I used San Marzano)
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add the okra and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes.  Transfer to a plate and set aside.  Add the onion to the residual oil in the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about one minute.  Add the cumin, coriander, cayenne, and turmeric and stir to combine.  Add the tomatoes and juices and stir to combine.  Cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.  Add the okra to combine.  Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook until the okra is tender, about 10 minutes.  Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.  Garnish with cilantro.  Six servings.
WWinfo: grouper 8pp, okra/tomatoes 4pp, quinoa (1/2 cup) 3pp