This recipe was originally published on June 10, 2009. It is being reposted for readers’ enjoyment.
Another old favorite, Shrimp Creole. This recipe for Shrimp Creole has, naturally, been tweaked somewhat by me, but it originally came from Craig Claiborne’s “Southern Cooking.”
Craig Claiborne was a food writer for the New York Times, but he was born and raised in Mississippi. He had a lifetime appreciation for southern cuisine which grew throughout his childhood and youth in the kitchen of his mother’s boardinghouse. Over the years he wrote several cookbooks, but my favorite was his Southern Cooking. He included many of his mother’s original recipes in that cookbook, and they are all so familiar to me from my own childhood.
Throughout the book he writes about his memories of classic southern food such as fried catfish, fried chicken, field peas, greens (collards, turnips and mustard), cornbread and a huge variety of desserts. Any time I need inspiration for something to cook, I know I can find it in Southern Cooking.
This recipe has been lightened up somewhat, but you can lighten it even more by cutting a tad more of the butter. I don’t believe it would really affect the finished dish much.
Rinse the shrimp and set aside in a colander to drain. You want them to be fairly dry when you add them at the end.
Prepare the vegetables. In New Orleans, actually in all creole cooking, the combination of onion, celery and green bell pepper is known as the “trinity.” It is the cornerstone of hundreds of creole dishes and produces a flavor combination that is unique and readily identifiable as being creole. In this Shrimp Creole, we are also using a good bit of garlic.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until the onion is wilted. Be careful not to let the onion brown.
Add the celery, green pepper, and garlic. Cook 5 minutes, stirring, or until vegetables are softened.
Add the tomatoes,
thyme, bay leaf, Tabasco, lemon rind, salt, and pepper. Simmer 15 minutes uncovered.
Add the shrimp,
stir well and cover. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, no longer. Really. NO LONGER than 5 minutes. I think the biggest mistake people make with shrimp is overcooking them. If you’ve ever gotten a rubbery, tough shrimp it’s because it was overcooked. It really wasn’t the poor shrimp’s fault. It was tender and plump when it went in the pot.
Add the chopped parsley, lemon juice, and, if desired, more Tabasco sauce to taste. Serve over rice.
Makes 2 to 4 servings.
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