Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Milwaukee Creole: Barbequed Shrimp
Sure, we were a bit tentative about buying shrimp out of a truck in a gas station parking lot. But, our minds eased a bit when we saw the incredibly long lines of people waiting to buy shrimp. And we started salivating when we caught site of the shrimp itself -- firm and pink-fleshed with virtually no signs of discoloration. They also smelled fabulous (well, as fabulous as uncooked shrimp CAN smell).
Once we got the shrimp home, of course, the only question was -- how do we prepare them?
I was having a bit of a craving for creole fare. So, I started channeling some of my favorite Louisiana dishes. Barbequed shrimp seemed like a natural choice. After all, it was made famous by Pascale's Manale in the Big Easy.
I've heard that this dish is really best when prepared with head-on shrimp (aren't they all?). The fatty red substance in the shrimp heads, akin to the lobster’s tamale, is highly valued, and is often used to flavor the sauce. I respect this tradition, but am a little creeped out by foods that stare back. Plus, the seafood-in-a-truck people weren't carrying head-on shrimp this time around. So, we opted for the headless variety in our recipe.
Now, despite the "barbeque" in the name, traditional barbequed shrimp are not cooked on a grill at all. But, it was a gorgeous day -- so we decided to break all the rules. Not only were we going to make Nola Barbequed Shrimp with headless shrimp, but we were going to expose them to our trusty Weber.
But, first, we needed to make up a little bit of creole dry rub. A bit of salt, some cayenne pepper, thyme, oregano, garlic, white pepper, paprika, and celery seed should do it.
We tossed the shrimp liberally in the dry rub and a bit of olive oil.
And then we skewered those shrimp up.
If you've not tried the "two skewer" trick with shrimp, you're in for a treat. The double skewers really make flipping the shrimp on the hot grill a breeze (the shrimps can't play spinning tricks on you when you're not looking).
Next, we composed the sauce. First saute bit of onion, garlic, and celery in liberal amounts of butter with a couple of tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary. Add some Worcestershire, some beer, lemon juice (throw part of the rind in too, for good measure), a tablespoon of agave nectar, a couple of tablespoons of hot sauce. And finally, a nice whorl of heavy cream. Stir it all up, let it come to a simmer, and cook it until thickened.
When you've got the sauce prepared, it's time to take those shrimps out to the barbie. Place them on direct high heat and let them sizzle for 3-4 minutes on the first side.
Then, flip them over and give them another 3-4 minutes on the other side (this depends heavily on the size of the shrimp) -- or until the flesh is firm and the shells are bright pink.
When the shrimp are cooked, it's time to bring them inside and marry them with that luscious creole "barbeque" sauce. Trust me when I say that you really won't be sorry about this.
Just look at that rich, creamy, spicy, smoky malange... the shrimp in this dish definitely lived up to our expectations. And that sauce! Lawd, the sauce!
Our advice? Dress down when you eat these shrimp (hear that ladies?? this is not the time for looking all nice). Gather up a nice loaf of French bread for dipping, and roll up your sleeves. Cuz this is some serious food. *slurp*
Burp! Barbequed Shrimp
This post was submitted as part of Real Food Wednesday!