As the height of the Louisiana shrimp season approaches with the opening of inshore shrimping, I start my annual craving for all things shrimp. Sometimes I feel like a character in the movie Forrest Gump as I reel off my list of favorite Cajun recipes: shrimp gumbo, shrimp Creole, shrimp jambalaya, fried shrimp, stuffed shrimp, oh well, you get it.
But my absolute favorite is the classic New Orleans barbecued shrimp. Only one problem in the Graham household: it is my wife’s least favorite. She just doesn’t get the head-on, shell-on shrimp swimming in a peppery bath of butter with a loaf of French bread to sop it all up with. And I say: What’s not to get?
Okay, okay! So it’s a bit unhealthy, and a whole lot messy, but isn’t everything this good? My dilemma: Recreate this Cajun recipe classic into a more sensible interpretation that preserves the flavor of the original. There’s no denying the Sicilian roots of the original Pascal’s Manale restaurant recipe for barbecued shrimp, and my Cajun Shrimp Skillet doesn’t stray far away. First off, I will concede that sourcing extra jumbo Gulf shrimp that are peeled and deveined, with the heads removed only enhances the ease of this dish. And I agree that cutting the pure butter with a healthy dose of extra virgin olive oil is an acceptable trade-off. But, the spices, herbs, and aromatics are essential, and with a splash of wine, I already like where we’re headed with this Cajun Shrimp Skillet.
Instead of mopping the plate with hunks of French bread, I’m cutting to the chase with a sliced toasted baguette underscoring each shrimp. While the bread supports the shrimp presentation, it slowly absorbs the sauce for a complete experience in one bite. Oh yeah, I like this Cajun Shrimp Skillet for sure.
I love when my wife challenges me, no, inspires me. And when you taste this tasty Cajun Shrimp Skillet recipe, you will be inspired to bring it out as a new classic at your next dinner party.
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup chopped leeks
- 1 thinly sliced lemon, seeds removed
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 1 dozen jumbo (8/10 count) shrimp, peeled, tail-on, and deveined
- 1 dozen sliced toasted baguette rounds
- Dash of hot sauce, optional
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the butter and olive oil. Once the butter is melted, add the leeks and lemon slices. Cook until the leeks are tender, and the edge of the lemon slices begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and add the rosemary, parsley, and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes and add the wine, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir the skillet and cook off the alcohol and reduce by half, 3 to 5 minutes. While stirring, add Cajun seasoning, white pepper, Italian seasoning, and black pepper.
- You can hold this recipe at this point until your guests are ready to eat. Bring the mixture back to a simmer, and add the shrimp. Cook on both sides until pink and done through. Sprinkle over the cheese and stir once more to distribute.
- For serving, nestle a toasted bread slice into the sauce and top with a shrimp. Spoon some of the sauce over each shrimp and serve family style with the skillet in the center of the table. Serve with hot sauce on the side to give your guests the option.
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