Whenever I go to New Orleans I over eat. It’s that combination of ingredients that you get in NOLA classic dishes that can’t be beat. With Cajun spice, shrimp and green onions this one really comes together.
My doctor says everyone should eat more beans and greens and less red meat. I’m trying, so here’s another bean and something recipe – Shrimp and Bean Soup. This one is from Evelyn. She adapted it from an old family recipe. You can use any kind of dried beans you like. I’m using Goya’s habichuelas blancas (small white beans).
To start – Pick through the beans and rinse them. Put them in a pot with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil and turn off heat. Let them sit for one hour. Or you can let them stand in 4 cups of cold water overnight.
In the meantime – Hear some oil in a large pot. Cook the trinity until it’s soft, about 10 minutes. Add 6 cups of water, the beans, and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours or until the beans are tender.
Remove a cup of beans and puree them in a blender or food processor and return them to the pot to thicken the soup. Add the Worcestershire sauce. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper. If the soup is too thick, add water. Put the shrimp in the pot, stir and cook for 5 – 8 minutes until done. Serve in individual bowls with a sprinkling of olive oil.
I was in the mood for shrimp and came across this recipe – Cajun Garlic Butter Shrimp – on Alyssa River’s site The Recipe Critic. It’s simple and quick to make and yet has some very complex flavors. I served it with faro which went well with the sauce. Rice goes well too.
¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
Sliced green onions, for garnish
Mix the first six ingredients together in a bowl to make the sauce. Put the butter in a frying pan on high heat. When it melts, add the sauce and let it reduce for a few minutes.
Add the shrimp to the pan and sprinkle with black pepper. Stir and cook for a few minutes until the shrimp is done. Garnish with the chopped green onions. Really good and easy to make.
A drawing my sister Nicki made of the Fisherman’s Wharf
Excerpt from Memories of the Fisherman’s Wharf
I grew up in a seafood restaurant. My family owned The Fisherman’s Wharf on Mott Street in Manhattan’s Little Italy from the mid-1940s to 1958. . . The offerings were mostly seafood but there was also steak and chicken, as well as some Italian-American dishes like spaghetti and meatballs. I loved shrimp, and the deep-fried breaded gamberetto with lots of ketchup was my favorite. The shrimp and rice special was pretty good too. Only, I’d have to pick out all of the pieces of celery before I ate it—I didn’t eat any green food back then except pickles. . .
. . . they usually started with a few drinks and dinner in one of the local restaurants; Sweet’s, Carmine’s, or Sloppy Louie’s, now all long gone. . .
. . . Anyone could walk out on the pier where they docked, although no one did unless they were in the seafood business. The pier smelled of sea water and fish, and while the fish couldn’t have been fresher, it still smelled, especially in summer. . .
. . . the piles of clams and oysters heaped like stones. What seemed like sea monsters to me were the giant, decapitated swordfish, sliced crosswise to show the quality of the steaks, the heads on display, their swords pointing at the customers. Always enthralled with crabs, I loved chasing the escapees skittering sideways down the street. . .
. . . The longshoreman worked all night, so instead of scrambled eggs or pancakes, they’d eat a hearty meal of roast beef and turkey with fried potatoes and hot cherry peppers. Everyone drank coffee, steins of beer, and shots of whiskey. I’d have a Coke but otherwise ate everything they did. The cook would tell my father, “The kid’s got a good appetite.”
. . . For some of the clam dishes, Michele often used large chowder clams he’d chop into small pieces, and that’s what led to the problem in the cellar. The clams were kept on ice and covered with damp burlap to keep them alive and fresh. Sometimes when clams are out of water, the shells begin to open. . .
. . . I wasn’t to go near the lobsters which had much stronger claws than the crabs. They came packed in seaweed and ice, in open-sided crates, with wooden pegs wedged into the joint at the base of their claws so they couldn’t open them.
“Pero,” Michele said, “some-a time, the peg, she slip out.”
Michele hardly had to warn me. The lobsters’ fierce looks were enough to keep me away. . .
Michele was the chef at my Uncle Charlie’s restaurant, The Fisherman’s Wharf. This was one of my favorites.
Michele’s Breaded Deep Fried Gamberetto
Rinse the shrimp and blot them dry. Season with salt and pepper. Beat the egg with about two tablespoons of the milk. Dip the shrimp into the egg wash and drip off any excess. Coat with the breadcrumbs and place on a rack for 30 minutes.
Heat the oil to 375o. If you don’t have a thermometer, drop a few breadcrumbs in the oil, and if it sizzles, it’s hot enough. Deep fry until golden.
Serve with lemon wedges and Heinz Chili Sauce on the side.
Shrimp with Orange Sauce and Salad – An interesting recipe adapted from Bon Appetit – the mix for the marinade is also used as sauce and salad dressing.
Mix orange juice, Sriracha, honey, soy sauce and ¼ cup oil. Reserve ½ of it to be used as salad dressing and sauce. Add the shrimp to the remaining half. Let it stand 30 minutes, mixing occasionally.
Heat the remaining 2 tbsp. oil in a pan. Drain the shrimp, reserving the liquid and cook them until pink. Remove the cooked shrimp and add the reserved liquid. Boil until slightly reduced, check for seasoning and then ladle over the shrimp.
Serve with rice and salad using the marinade as dressing.
I have some problems with Shrimp Scampi. First, there’s the name. Is scampi a method of preparation or the name of what you’re eating? Is a scampi a shrimp or is it a langoustine, crayfish, a prawn or maybe even a Norwegian lobster? If it is a shrimp then when you say the name of the dish, Shrimp Scampi, you’re really saying “Shrimp Shrimp.”
I’ll let that go and deal with my real problem with this dish. It’s too garlicky and oily and not shrimpy and saucy enough. I’ve adapted this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen and with less oil, the addition of stock, poaching instead of frying and sliced instead of chopped garlic, it’s a lot better.
Start by heating 2 tbsps. olive oil in a pan. Add the shells and stir until they begin to color – about 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer for another 5 minutes. Strain out the shells and save the stock.
Wipe out the pan and add the remaining olive oil. Add the garlic, black and red pepper. Simmer the garlic slowly and on a low flame for a few minutes, then add the reserved stock. Add the shrimp, cover and simmer for 5 minutes on medium heat.
While it’s simmering, mix the lemon juice with the corn starch. Remove the shrimp from the pan. Add the lemon-corn starch mix and 4 tbsps. butter. Whisk until it’s smooth. If it’s too thick add a little water and continue to whisk.
Check for seasoning. Return the shrimp to the pan, add the parsley, stir and simmer for 5 minutes and serve.