Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp

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Tonight is "Fat Tuesday," and the well known French translation for this day is Mardi Gras.  That means tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent for us Catholics.  And that also means I'm supposed to give something up that I love, or add something...I need to think fast!

In honor of this widely celebrated day, I decided to make the best dish that I ever ate in New Orleans, since New Orleans is the hub of Mardi Gras celebrations with parades, beads, King cake, and masks.  I first had this barbecue shrimp at Pascal's Manale in uptown New Orleans.  I was with King Pharmaceuticals at the time, and our district meeting for the Specialty Cardiovascular team was going to be in New Orleans.

My best friend in the district was Kay Dussouy, and she lived in Metairie, just outside of New Orleans.  So our manager Phil let Kay pick our destinations for district dinners.  Kay and I used to have great talks about what we were cooking for dinner and share recipes with each other, so I knew that I would love any restaurant that she loved.
First you make the sauce.  I read in one cookbook that European butter is best for this dish.  So that's what I used.   Add some worcesteshire, lemon, and garlic and you will practically want to drink the sauce with a spoon!

I also used Meyer lemons.  The chefs on Food Network are always lovin' on these things!  The Meyer lemon is a cross between a mandarin orange and a lemon.  The skin is really thin, so the meyer lemon is really easy to squeeze to extract juices.  I always squeeze in a small ramekin, discard the seeds, then pour the juice into my mixture.  I got mine at The Fresh Market on Surf 'n Turf Tuesday!  I Love the great deals on this day!!
Once you combine all the sauce ingredients, you layer your shrimp in a pan and pour the sauce over it.  Cook for about 20 minutes for 400 degrees if you have 2 pounds of shrimp.  You see the irony now?  they call it barbecue shrimp, but you cook it in the oven?! 

Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs. wild American shrimp, unpeeled, head on if possible
  • 8 oz. European butter, or regular if not accessible
  • 1/2 cup worcestershire sauce
  • 2 lemons, Meyer lemons if possible
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Melt butter with worcestershire, juice of 1 lemon, pepper, salt, and garlic in a pan over medium heat.
  3. Layer the shrimp in a 9 x 12 pan.  Slice the second lemon, discard seeds, then add to pan.
  4. Whisk the sauce.  Turn off the heat.  Pour over the shrimp.
  5. Cook in the oven 20 minutes.   
  6. Serve with French baguette.
I am so crazy about the extreme flavors in this dish!!!  If you're in Little Rock, try this dish at The Faded Rose.  Read the story of how it was inspired by New Orleans' Pascal's Manale - originator of New Orleans barbecue shrimp!!  Thanks to my friend Kay for introducing me to this deliciousness!!!  XOXO

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