Dear friends, it is almost Fat Tuesday so you know what that means…
Mardi Gras treats!!
I have had the pleasure of being in New Orleans for Mardi Gras and I can say that it is something everyone should do at least once in their life. I didn’t do the whole Bourbon Street, flash for beads, debauchery all around, Mardi Gras experience, so hopefully you have not let your mind run wild with crazy thoughts. I get really jealous around this time of year because no city has a celebration that will ever match the one in New Orleans nor should any city try. I could hop on a plane and experience Carnival in Brazil but let’s be real, if I can’t get to New Orleans every year then I am certainly not getting to Brazil.
For this year’s celebration I was lucky to stumble upon a recipe from my grandmother for Shrimp Creole. As I read the recipe I noticed that one ingredient she had left off the list was the SHRIMP…I guess it is a good thing it was called Shrimp Creole or I would have just assumed it was some weird tomato sauce. In fact the recipe was written in a very short hand format so I had to do some research to fill in some of the missing pieces. It was clear after doing the research that grandma had added her own twist to the dish (olives and mushrooms-not sure where grandma pulled those from). Don’t be afraid, she stayed true to the origins and any additional elements are minor.
I am not sure if my grandmother ever went down to New Orleans but I would imagine she would have liked the food and the music. I don’t think I would have suggested that she go down during Mardi Gras, frankly I can’t imagine anyone’s grandma down there for Mardi Gras (terrible images must now be erased from my mind). It is a great time though and New Orleans is a city so rich in culture and food tradition that it would be a shame to miss out. The hubby and I have been trying to plan a long weekend where we just eat, drink, and dance our way through New Orleans. Ok so if you haven’t done so already, go get yourself a King Cake and some cold Abita beer and do as they say, Laissez le bon temps rouler!
Yields 4-6 Servings
2 Tbsp. Butter
1/4 Cup Chopped Onion
1 Minced Garlic Clove
6 Olives Roughly Chopped
1 1/2 Cup Canned Whole or Diced Tomato
1/4 Cup Tomato Sauce
1/2 Cup Green Pepper Diced
1/2 Cup Celery Diced
1/4 Cup Mushrooms Sliced
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 Tsp. Dried Thyme
1 Tsp. Sugar
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1/2 Tsp. Cayenne (Add more if desired)
1 Tsp. Sherry
1 Tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 Lb. Shrimp Peeled and Deveined (Raw or Frozen)
1 Tsp. Chopped Parsley
White or Brown Rice for Serving
In a large skillet melt your butter over medium heat. Add your onions, garlic and olives and saute until the onions start to soften. You can cover the skillet for 2 minutes and stirring occasionally. Once your onions have started soften add all of your other ingredients except for your shrimp to the pan. Stir everything together and saute for a few minutes uncovered. Put a cover over the pan and drop the temperature to low-medium heat. Allow everything to cook until the sauce thickens. Once your sauce has thickened to the consistency you want you can add your shrimp and cook uncovered, stirring frequently until your shrimp have cooked, about 5-8 minutes or until pink. Once cooked remove from the heat and serve over rice. Garnish with the parsley. If you want your dish to be spicier you can add more cayenne or you can drop in a few dashes of Tabasco. Note: If you use canned whole tomatoes make sure to break them up during the cooking process.
I have made some other dishes that would be great to celebrate the holiday and pay tribute to New Orleans. Check them out!