Years ago, I did a cooking class event with a special menu titled “Lunch from the French Quarter.” I taught a gumbo recipe from my book, The Sharper Your Knife. I developed the recipe below based on a dish that I had in New Orleans during a rushed trip to the Crescent City during my first book tour.
Lunch in the French Quarter
Recipe: Spicy Creole Shrimp with Pasta
This is a twist on the New Orleans classic of barbecue shrimp, normally cooked with shell on and never actually touches a grill. The result is quite hot; for a milder dish, omit the second round of heat in the fresh pepper. Old Bay is readily available in supermarkets, but if you don't have it on hand, any spicy spice mix will work. Serves six as an appetizer and four as an main. Be sure to serve with lots of warm French bread for dipping in the sauce.
- 1 ½ pounds shrimp shells reserved
- 2 cups of chicken stock or water
- 2 teaspoons Old Bay spice
- 1 teaspoon thyme or mixed Italian herbs
- Few pinches of cayenne or red pepper flakes depending on taste
- Several cranks black pepper
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- 2 to 3 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 small fresh red or jalapeno chili minced (optional)
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup tablespoons of lemon juice
- ¼ cup white wine
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley
- 8 oz. of fettuccine or linguine pasta
- Take half the shrimp shells and combine with the stock and let simmer at least 10 minutes or until you finish the recipe. Strain and set aside. Boil the pasta according to package directions in highly salted water. Drain without rinsing, and set aside.
- Combine the Old Bay, thyme, cayenne, a few cranks of black pepper and shrimp in a bowl, then toss to coat. Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over high heat until a sprinkle of water dances on the surface. Add the shrimp and cook until just pink, about two minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon or tongs to a bowl.
- Lower the heat to medium and add the butter. Once it melts, add onion and garlic and sauté until softened, about three minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, the stock and white wine and reduce briefly, about five minutes. Taste, adding salt if needed. Add shrimp and sauté for about a minute. Transfer shrimp and sauce to large bowl filled with prepared pasta, toss with parsley.