Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Milwaukee Creole: Barbequed Shrimp

When you live in Wisconsin, finding fresh (never been frozen) seafood can be a challenge. One of the things you will almost NEVER find is fresh shrimp. So, when we heard that the Fabian Seafood truck was coming around last weekend, we knew we had to pick up a few pounds of fresh, wild caught, gulf 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!

29 comments:

  1. Wow, I've never been hungry for shrimp at breakfast before but these images got me. Nicely done! I know what you mean about fresh shrimp -- we have a wonderful seafood monger here called Bob's Seafood, and they supply sushi-grade fish to restaurants (when we make sushi at home that's where we go), but even with them, the never-frozen shrimp is hard to come by. So it's a real treat when you can get it. Thanks for the idea -- I know what I'll be doing next time we can get some.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh my WORD! This looks glorious. Absolutely. I'll have to pass this on to my husband - the amazing and adventerous cook in our home. yum!

    ReplyDelete
  3. MMMMM...Lo! They look georgously delicious! Yummie!! Excellnet sea food!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love the rub and the sauce. Looks mouthwatering and I'd love to try it on some things other than shrimp too (although it's on file for shrimp dishes I'd like to try out on my husband).

    Sometimes the trucks are the best places to buy seafood. When I'm on vacation down on Chincoteauge Island there are always a few roadside trucks selling seafood. I'm never sure if it's safe to take any home with me in a cooler due to the very long drive.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Grilling is such a fun summer activity!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Um. That looks bomb. Wisconsin is bringing the bbq shrimp to the barbie!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh wow this looks mighty tasty!!! Yummo. What an awesome way to cook shrimp.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Barbecue shrimp....sigh.....one of my favorite restuarants in Athens serves this. It was authentic and unbelievable. Never attempted it on my own before, so I might have to give this a shot.

    And, I'm with you on not eating foods that stare back. Creepy.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Grilled shrimp sounds excellent and the sauce is awesome, great flavors!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh baby these look good!! So you said they're not usually made on the grill, how else would you make them???

    ReplyDelete
  11. Bunny - From what I know, NO Barbecued Shrimp is cooked right in the buttery sauce. No grill involved. Strange, right? :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Glad you discovered Fabian! I made grilled shrimp the last time I bought from Fabian, too.

    ReplyDelete
  13. yum, yum, yum! i LOVE grilled shrimp! that dry rub looks fantastic...must try!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Your shrimp looks incredible. That rub sounds like a wonderful combination. And I like your two-skewer idea for grilling! Great job. Interesting post.

    ReplyDelete
  15. We don't get fresh shrimp here, either, unless it's been on a plane ride, which makes it prohibitively expensive. i like your suggestion to make the shrimp not do gymnastic flips!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sounds so delicious. Know I need to do a sun-dance and hope the rain here in London goes away so I can do some grilling. Though I did recently discover the Big Easy - a restaurant in London that does new orleans bbq. It's actually pretty damn good!

    ReplyDelete
  17. What a great way to use fresh shrimp - your pictures are making my mouth water!

    ReplyDelete
  18. A shrimp recipe like this screams for the shells to be left on. More finga'lickin' good action!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Those are some seriously yummy looking shrimp. I just bought some shrimp earlier today! Guess I know how I'm cookin' 'em up tomorrow. Thanks for sharing.
    ~ingrid

    ReplyDelete
  20. Holy jumping but do these look delicious. I think this is one of those dishes that is supposed to serve 4, but Mike and I would eat it all ourselves.

    ReplyDelete
  21. You know I've never really figured out what the difference is between prawn and shrimp, but i never see shrimp in the shops here, just prawns of all sizes! Hmmm... I think I will have to google it!

    ReplyDelete
  22. my hubby loves shrimp and I think he will like this recipe...

    ReplyDelete
  23. OH MY, CHECK YOU OUT! this is such a hot post. Thanks, s

    ReplyDelete
  24. A prawn is actually just a large shrimp, like in the 10 to 12 per lb size.
    The next count down , is he 16 to 26,
    then the (my favorite is the 26 to 30 count.
    shrimp or all good.

    ReplyDelete
  25. That shrimp looks so tasty!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I too was impressed w/the descriptive presentation of this recipe....the next time Fabian Seafood arrives to Bloomington, Indiana I will be preparing this recipe! Susan

    ReplyDelete
  27. This is a phenomenol recipe. If you ever want fresh Gulf shrimp without waiting on the truck, just let me know. I make 8 to 9 runs annually to my hometown of Biloxi, MS. nomas73

    ReplyDelete
  28. Curtis! I'd love some fresh Gulf Shrimp. Are you in the Milwaukee area?? Email me!

    ReplyDelete

We're thrilled that you came to visit us here at BURP! Thanks so much for taking the time to write. We're not always able to respond to every comment, but we'll make every effort to answer questions in a timely fashion. We especially enjoy reading about what's going on in your own creative kitchens. So, don't be shy!

And thanks for stopping by!