The thing to order? A pound (or two or three) of shrimp in the Whole Shebang sauce. It comes in a heavy duty plastic bag, the shrimp swimming around in the buttery, flavor-filled, sometimes spicy sauce. Bite off the head, suck out all the yummy brain juices, then eat the shrimp, shell on and all. Maybe ask for an ear of corn in the bag. And get a side of Cajun fries. Oh, and white rice. (And you know what else is really good there? The chicken wings.) Amazing.
I’ve been trying to replicate this Whole Shebang sauce for awhile now, to little success. I’ve even come up with a non-saucy version of Cajun shrimp but the only thing in common it has with The Boiling Crab’s shrimp is its cuisine type.
I came across this Chow recipe yesterday and it just… felt right. Well, mostly right. I made a few changes (like nixing red jalapeños and instead adding cayenne pepper and onion powder) and it tasted verrrry similar to The Boiling Crab’s. The best part? It’s easy. Really. It roasts in the oven in less than 10 minutes.
Serves: 4 entrees (or 6 appetizers)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes
1 pound large shrimp, head and shells on
1-1/4 cup water
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Juice of 1 lemon
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 cup shrimp stock (recipe in Step 1)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1. Make a quick shrimp stock: Remove the shrimp heads and transfer to a 2-quart saucepan. Pour the water over the shrimp heads and bring to a low boil, then reduce to simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Strain and discard heads. Transfer the shrimp (shell on) to a large mixing bowl or casserole dish and set aside. (Pro tip: While the stock is simmering, complete Step 2.)
2. Marinate the shrimp: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the 1/2 cup olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, onion powder and cayenne pepper (if using). Pour over the reserved shrimp and let marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to its maximum temperature (usually 450-500 degrees) and arrange rack near the top. Place a roasting pan or deep baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes so it gets hot.
4. Working quickly and using tongs, arrange the marinated shrimp in a single layer on the hot pan or baking sheet. Discard the marinade. Roast the shrimp until bright pink and some of the shells lightly brown, about 7-8 minutes.
5. Remove the shrimp from the oven and immediately pour the stock over them while still on the baking sheet. Finish with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and butter. Stir gently to coat. Serve with rice or French bread and enjoy!]]>
These tasty sandwiches were born during the violent riots of the New Orleans transit strike in 1929. In support of the strike, streetcar-conductors-turned-restaurateurs Bennie and Clovis Martin declared, “Our meal is free to any members of Division 194…We are with you till hell freezes, and when it does, we will furnish blankets to keep you warm.”
And the Martin brothers kept their promise, providing roast-beef-and-gravy sandwiches to the strikers. They even worked with a local baker, John Gendusa, to create more uniformly-shaped French bread loaves, which made for 20-inch half-loaf sandwiches and 15-inch standard-sized ones. The larger poor boy sandwiches were 15 cents (yes, really!), the standard size was 10 cents, and plain lettuce-and-tomato sandwiches were free.
As for the name, Bennie Martin famously said, “Whenever we saw one of the striking men coming, one of us would say, ‘Here comes another poor boy.’”
I guess they really are “poor boys” and not “po’ boys” because Errol Laborde, editor of New Orleans Magazine, wrote a blog post about it.
But since we all know this sandwich as a “po’ boy” I kept it in the headline. Because, you know, SEO or whatever.
Normally, a shrimp poor boy would have deep-fried battered shrimp, some kind of mayonnaise or aioli, and some lettuce and tomato. But let’s keep it simple. And still juicy and bursting with flavor. For inspiration, I checked out recipes from Patrick and Geena Neely, Food52, and Emeril Lagasse.
You can also check out Carole’s Chatter for some more really great shrimp ideas. Over there, she put together a list of ingredients that go well with with delicious prawns, including basil, coriander, garlic, scallions and tons more. Plus, there are links to all kinds of shrimp recipes.
Serves: About 6
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 8-10 minutes
6 French bread rolls: 4″ or 6″
1 large beefsteak or heirloom tomato, thinly sliced
For the shrimp marinade:
2/3 cup olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1.5 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
For the garlic aioli:
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Marinate the shrimp: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire, paprika, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, oregano and thyme. Add the smashed garlic. Transfer to a bowl or tupperware big enough to hold the shrimp. Add shrimp in a single layer. Let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour. The shrimp will look like they’re spooning. Like this:
2. Make garlic aioli: In a small bowl, mix together the light mayonnaise, lemon juice and minced garlic. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Taste. Add a dash more lemon juice or garlic, if you like. Apologize later for your stinky breath.
3. Prepare tomato and bread: While you wait the 30 minutes to 1 hour for the shrimp to marinate, have a few beers. Also, slice your tomato and get your bread ready. If you bought a French baguette, slice it to your desired sandwich size. I like 6 inches. (That’s what she said.)
4. Grill shrimp: Preferably, grab your iron griddle. If you don’t have one, you can saute in a stainless steel pan. Get your griddle or pan hot over medium-high heat. Grill the shrimp until just done, about 3 minutes on each side.
5. Heat bread: If desired, when done grilling shrimp, warm the bread on the griddle, about 1-2 minutes.
6. Assemble: For each sandwich, spread about 1 tablespoon aioli on each baguette, add about 2 tomato slices and add about 4 ounces of shrimp. Serve!
How to de-vein shrimp: Take a small knife and cut a small slit across the back of the un-peeled shrimp, inserting your blade about 1/3 of the way through. Peel off most of the shell, legs and tail. Wipe off the intestinal tract, or what looks like black thread. If you like, keep the shells, legs and tails to make shrimp stock.
What if I don’t like spicy food? You’re missing out! But seriously, if you’re not into that spicy kick, you can skip the cayenne pepper.]]>
This Chinese shrimp dish has everything I always look for in an entree: it’s crispy, salty, juicy and spicy. And — I’m very proud to say — I prefer this recipe over most Chinese restaurants’ dishes. Here, I cut off the heads (I save them to make stock; I’m not wasteful!) and I devein the shrimp, although I leave the shells on. The result is a beautifully plump, succulent and easy-to-eat plate of shrimp. The addition of Szechuan peppercorns sends it over-the-top mouthwateringly-spicy.
Prep time: 30-40 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
2 pounds shrimp, headless, deveined, shells on
3 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups water
1 cup cornstarch
About 1 quart vegetable or grapeseed oil (for frying)
8-10 fresh Thai chilies, sliced
8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons ginger, finely chopped
For the dipping salt:
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
5 Szechuan peppercorns, for medium spiciness (optional)
1. Prep shrimp: Cut off the heads (of they still have them) and reserve for later use, if you want to make shrimp stock. Devein them gently, making sure you don’t peel the shells off. When done, toss with baking soda in a bowl. Set aside 20 minutes.
2. Heat frying oil: Add the quart-or-so of oil to a 2-quart pot. You can use a larger pot and even more or less oil, if desired. Just make sure you have at least 3 inches of oil in the pot. Put over medium-high heat.
3. Prep fresh spices: Finely chop the garlic and ginger, and slice the chilies. Set aside in a small bowl.
4.: Prep dry spices: Heat a small saute pan for 1 minute. Add the Szechuan peppercorns (if using), kosher salt and Chinese Five Spice. Gently shake the pan back and forth, allowing the spices to move around the pan without spilling out, until they are fragrant and the peppercorns are darker in color, about 2-3 minutes. Remove and add to spice grinder. Grind until smooth.
5. Rinse and pat dry the shrimp. Mix a cornstarch slurry — 2 cups water and 1 cup cornstarch — for dredging.
6. Test the oil’s heat: You’ll know your oil is ready when you add something – say, a slice of chili – to it and it bubbles steadily.
7. In batches, dip shrimp in the slurry, shake off excess, and fry until just pink, about 1 minute. (Ideally, you’d use a spider, in order to carefully and quickly transfer shrimp.) Drain on paper-towel-lined plate. To maximize crunch, make sure you spread them out so the shrimps aren’t in a tall pile.
8. Ladle 2-3 tablespoons frying oil into a large saute pan over medium heat. Add fresh spices: garlic, ginger and chilies and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add shrimp, turning over and mixing to coat in spices. Season with half of the dipping salt. After about 2-3 minutes of cooking, remove and plate.
9. Finish immediately with the remaining dipping salt. Mentally prepare yourself for deliciousness. Serve immediately. Eat your fair share before someone else does.
Why the baking soda treatment? You know how sometimes, when you order this dish at a restaurant, the shells are chewy? The baking soda treatment reduces that. It softens the shells and allows them to crisp up nicely during the frying process.
Why toast the dry spices? This brief cooking process renews the spices, giving them a fuller, richer aroma and flavor.
Can I change the spice level? Yes! But be forewarned: those little Szechuan peppercorns pack a numbing punch! Toasting and grinding just those 5, believe it or not, will give a medium spiciness level. Of course, you can use a couple extra if you like very spicy food, or just nix them altogether if you don’t. The Thai chilies, though spicy, are more moderate. I like them mainly for the added color.
Why either vegetable or grapeseed oil? Vegetable oil is just a standard oil for frying — it’s cheap and neutral in flavor, so it gets the job done well. However, grapeseed oil is a little healthier. Its flavor is somewhat comparable to olive oil, but it has a higher smoke point, which means it doesn’t burn as easily as olive oil does. Thus, it works well for frying.]]>
Prep/cook time: 45 minutes
Simmering time: 30 minutes
2 pounds shrimp, shell/head on
1 quart plus 1 cup water
1 medium onion
4 celery stalks
2 green bell peppers
6 garlic cloves
1 stick butter
3/4 cup flour
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (1/2 teaspoon for medium spiciness)
2-3 dashes Tabasco sauce (optional)
3 scallions, chopped
1. Make a quick shrimp stock: Peel and de-vein the shrimp, and set aside. Place the shells, heads and tails in a 3-quart saucepan. Add 1 quart plus 1 cup water over low heat. Let simmer for 45 minutes.
2. Do some chopping: Meanwhile, chop the onions, celery and bell peppers into a small dice, about 1/4-inch chunks. Mince the garlic. (This might take 20-25 minutes.)
3. Make a roux: Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. (To help prevent burning, start with a room temperature pot, add the butter, then turn on the stove.) Add the flour and stir continuously to make a roux. Stir the roux over medium heat until it smells nutty and is light brown, about 7 minutes.
4. Add the onions, bell peppers, and celery to the roux, and cook, stirring often until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
5. Add the garlic and canned tomatoes and stir in the bay leaves and herbs/seasonings (e.g. smoked paprika, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper and Tabasco sauce). Cook the mixture for 3 minutes.
6. By now, the shrimp stock should be done. Strain out the shells and pour all the liquid into the pot. Stir well.
7. Bring the mixture to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Stir occasionally, for about 30 minutes.
8. Add shrimp, stirring to evenly distribute. Cook the shrimp until done, about 3-5 minutes (when the gray turns pinkish orange). Season sauce to taste. Serve over rice; garnish with scallions.
How I got the recipe: A good friend of mine forwarded me Scott Hargrove‘s recipe and I took it upon myself to sift through various other étouffée recipes, in particular, the ones from Emeril Lagasse and Paula Deen. I stuck mainly with Hargrove’s recipe but also used Lagasse’s Creole seasoning and took into account Deen’s tips regarding spiciness and cook time for the shrimps. Lagasse’s Creole seasoning is a must; it packs a nice Cajun kick, what with the paprika, garlic powder and herbs.
Can I use oil instead of butter? Yes! Paula Deen’s recipe calls for 1/2 cup of oil rather than the stick of butter because butter burns more easily. To ensure you melt it properly, start with the pot at room temperature, add the butter, then heat the pot.
How to de-vein shrimp: Gently but quickly rip off the shrimp heads; they should come off easily. Take a pair of kitchen scissors and snip a small slit across the back of the un-peeled shrimp, inserting the blade about 1/3 of the way through. Peel off the shell and legs. From here, wipe off the intestinal tract, or what looks like black thread.]]>
Serves: About 6-8
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 7 minutes
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1/2 stick of butter (or 4 tablespoons)
1-2 tablespoons minced or crushed garlic
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Melt the butter in a skillet on medium-low heat. Add garlic and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium and add the peeled and de-veined shrimp. Stir.
2. After about 2 minutes, add the Worcestershire sauce, oregano, basil, cayenne pepper and a dash more salt and pepper. Keep stirring and turning shrimp until they curl and turn slightly pink. (Hint: Cook until you don’t see any more gray).
Changing the proportions: My favorite thing about this recipe is that while the flavors are sophisticated, cooking is a snap because you don’t have to measure out each ingredient. Does the shrimp look a little dry? Add a dash more Worcestershire. Not seeing enough flecks of herbs? Toss in another pinch of oregano and basil. Not enough heat? Of course, sprinkle a bit more cayenne pepper.
How to de-vein shrimp: Some chefs would say de-veining is an absolute necessity; the cooked shrimp looks fuller, curlier and neater. And after all, it is cleaner; eating poop isn’t necessarily on everyone’s to-do list. Others shrug off the practice and prefer the shrimp in their natural state. In order to properly de-vein, take a small knife and cut a small slit across the back of the shrimp, inserting your blade about 1/3 of the way through. From here, wipe off the intestinal tract, or what looks like black thread.]]>