Monday, July 30, 2007

Mission: Shrimp New Orleans

Last year, Sandra and I visited an interesting chain restaurant called Bubba Gump's Shrimp Co. while we were on our second honeymoon in Cancun, Mexico. At that restaurant, I had a delicious dish called Shrimp New Orleans, which is described as "an authentic spicy recipe from our staff in the French Quarter featuring lots of shrimp sautéed in butter, garlic, and spices with jasmine rice." Almost a year later, we found a Bubba Gump restaurant at Universal Studios in Orlando, and after having the same dish prepared the same way, I was hooked.

The problem with trying to reproduce this dish at home is that there isn't any Bubba Gump restaurants close by for "research," so I did the next best thing... I searched the web to see if anybody had a recipe for this or something similar.

I got lucky. I found some web sites that claimed to have the recipe:

  • A TV station in Minneapolis apparently got the recipe from a chef at the local chain.

  • This site claims to have reproduced the recipe (or pretty close).

  • An interesting exchange on this site also claims to have the recipe from "Dave Trombetta of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co." along with other variations on it.

The problem was that all the recipes were different—there didn't seem to be any definitive recipe. What's a guy to do? Well, I checked the recipes, and stood over my stove and did my best. I think I took some ideas from these three sources (which are now in my personal collection in case the sites disappear), and then created my own:

Shrimp New Orleans

Total Time:25 min
Prep Time:10 min

1.5 lbs medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined (frozen is okay)

4 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon cajun seasoning

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning

1 teaspoon lemon/pepper seasoning

1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup broth (clam broth or chicken broth)

3/8 cup white wine

1/2 tablespoon fish sauce

1 fresh baguette

1 cup cooked Jasmine rice (optional)

lemon wedges (optional)

Cut french bread into thin slices. Place on cookie sheet into 400°F oven for five minutes to warm. Increase oven temperature to broil, and broil an additional 2-3 minutes to toast slices. Set aside and keep warm.

Melt butter, and add cajun seasoning, minced garlic, Old Bay, garlic powder, and pepper. Stir to mix. Saute shrimp until pink. Remove shrimp from butter.

Stir in worcestershire sauce, broth, white wine, and fish sauce into seasoned butter. Saute until reduced by about a third.

Serve shrimp with toothpicks (for serving), along with Jasmine rice. Put sauce into a ramekin and serve with French bread slices for dipping and lemon slices for garnish.

Finally... when I made this for the first time, my daughter Chardonnay was also making Garlic Knots for the first time; my brother-in-law (who owns pizza parlors on Long Island) was teaching her how to prepare them. Garlic Knots and Shrimp New Orleans are a match made in heaven! Fortuosity!

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