Dinner Diaries

Crescent City Shrimp Creole

Crescent City Shrimp Creole

By Tim H. Martin

New Orleans’ prodigal son re-creates signature dish.

— Recipe by Tim H. Martin

Preliminary Directions and Ingredients:

First, peel and devein 2 1/4 pounds raw shrimp. Also, finely chop 1⁄4 cup green onions (green stems for garnish, white bulbs for the roux) and 1⁄4 cup parsley. Reserve a portion of the parsley and green onions for garnish. Refrigerate the shrimp and set aside the green stems and parsley until the final 20-25 minutes of cooking.

In a Dutch oven or soup pot, warm the following ingredients before preparing the roux: 

• 1 (28 oz.) can tomatoes, diced

• 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce

• 2 tablespoons lemon juice

• 1 bay leaf

• 1 tablespoon paprika

• Cayenne pepper, to taste

• 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

• Hot sauce, to taste

• Kosher salt, to taste

• Black pepper, to taste

• 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning

• 1 1⁄2 cups chicken stock

Now prepare the roux.

Roux Ingredients:

• 1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour

• 1⁄4 cup unsalted butter

• 1 tablespoon canola or olive oil

• 2 cups bell peppers, chopped (mixture of red, orange and green)

• 4 ribs celery, chopped

• 1 medium onion, chopped

• 1 bunch green onion bulbs, chopped

• 4 cloves garlic, minced

Easy Roux Directions:

In a cast iron skillet, heat butter and oil over med-high heat. When the butter and oil begin to froth, add the flour, stirring constantly until it begins to brown slightly, just a minute or two. Add the onions, celery and bell peppers and cook for about a couple of minutes. Toss in the garlic and continue to cook until all the vegetables are tender. 

Final Steps:

Pour the roux into the Dutch oven or soup pot with the already warming ingredients and slowly simmer for about 30-40 minutes with the lid partially ajar. Remove from heat and add the shrimp, chopped green onion stems and parsley. Stir and allow to stand for an additional 10-15 minutes. The shrimp will cook and turn pink even though removed from heat. 

Ladle Shrimp Creole over steamed white rice and garnish with the chopped green onions and parsley you reserved, along with hot sauce. Side dishes might include salad, corn on the cob and French bread.

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Creole @ Heart

– By Tim H. Martin

I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on June 9, 1962. Seven years later, the U.S. Army reassigned my father to Washington D.C., and my family relocated above the Mason-Dixon Line in 1969. We hopped all over the country, never to return to Louisiana. Still, a big chunk of my heart never left The Big Easy.

Our house in Old Algiers was literally a stone’s throw from a levee and was surrounded by canals. Thunderstorms of any substance would flood the streets, making my front yard the perfect setting for a young boy with a big imagination to become Jean Lafitte, the pirate, spy and privateer.

With a wooden brick pallet for a schooner and a stick for a sword, I fought the British alongside General Andrew Jackson (the Cajun kid next door) until our moms called us inside for supper.

During my time in the Crescent City, I learned about alligator gar and gumbo, redfish and red beans, Satchmo and Shrimp Creole. Today I have flashbacks of jazz funerals, chocolate Mardi Gras coins and strippers moving in my neighborhood — a story for another day.

In 2000, I returned to my birthplace to introduce my wife to the French Quarter. Our very first meal was in an old restaurant on Bourbon Street. It was Friday, so I ordered the traditional end-of-the-week dish, Shrimp Creole. I’d forgotten how good it was! Fifteen years of research and trial and error have gone into re-creating that dish in a way that passes my taste tests, yet represents authentic NOLA tradition.

I reckon a little Mississippi River water must’ve seeped into my bloodstream when I was a kid, because no matter where I go, I shall always remain Creole at Heart.

Copyright 2022 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd