Tag Archives: shrimp

Shrimp Linguine with Artichokes and Crispy Bread crumbs

I don’t know why, but whenever I think of linguine, I think seafood. There must be something about the shape of the noodle – not too thick, not too thin – that makes it easy to twirl around a bite of firm sea fare. And it goes so well with the typical buttery or white-wine sauces of seafood pastas.

This recipe is a wonderful and simple way to enjoy your own linguine seafood pasta, with the splendors of artichoke hearts and crispy herbed bread crumbs scattered on top. The artichokes are the marinated variety, so the brine adds a salty effect to match the buttery shrimp and garlic-infused topping.

I used to hate bread crumbs on top of otherwise soft foods, but now that flavorful crunch is my favorite thing, and you’ll see me sneaking extra pinches of bread crumbs to my plate.

I added some garlic to the dish because I can’t fathom cooking pasta without it. It not only makes your kitchen smell wonderful, but garlic goes with pasta like peanut butter goes with jelly.

Even as a leftover, this was delicious … and I rarely enjoy seafood leftovers (they usually become too fishy).

Adapted from Real Simple.

Shrimp Linguine with Artichokes and Crispy Bread crumbs 

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 3/4 lb. linguine
  • 3 T EVOO
  • 1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 T chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 lb. peeled, deveined large shrimp
  • 12 oz. (about two jars) marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Cook pasta to al dente, reserving 1/2 c. of cooking water; drain and return to pot.

Meanwhile, heat 2 T EVOO in large skillet over medium. Add bread crumbs and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper, stirring 1 min. Add garlic and stir until crumbs are browned, 2-4 min. Mix in parsley and transfer to a bowl. Wipe out skillet.

Heat remaining 1 T EVOO in skillet over medium-high. Season shrimp with salt and pepper and saute until opaque, 4-6 min. Add artichoke hearts and pepper flakes and cook until heated through, 1-2 min.

Add pasta to the shrimp in the skillet, along with reserved cooking water and toss until thickened, 1-2 min.

To serve, plate the pasta and top with the bread crumb mixture.

Season to taste, of course.

This dish pairs extremely well with a crisp white wine and a simple salad. And it’s easy enough to have on a weeknight, even if company is over (very little chopping required).

I love eating these simple dishes on the front patio, where I can watch all the people running around Hanes Park or walking a dog or two.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

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Shrimp Fried Brown Rice

My goodness I love fried rice. Breakfast, lunch and dinner I could eat it. And I have. It’s hard, though, to pull off that wok-seared flavor in your own humble kitchen, where you’re not working over a massive black pan on direct heat.

But there are a few tricks you can employ to make your at-home fried rice as tasty (or close to) that which you buy from the restaurant. I, of course, turned to my favorite Jaden at Steamy Kitchen. Her first “watch out” is to always use day-old rice – otherwise it will be too wet to fry up. Second, she has you let the rice get a bit toasted and crunchy (don’t stir it TOO much), which adds a nice texture. Finally, tossing the shrimp in cornstarch before cooking keeps it from getting rubbery.

I added my few own touches to this recipe, notably using brown Basmati rice instead of white rice. I’m so glad I did – it added an extra bit of texture.

Definitely check out Steamy Kitchen, if you haven’t yet!

Shrimp Fried Brown Rice

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces medium uncooked shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil (divided)
  • 3 eggs, beaten in a small bowl
  • 4 stalks green onion, minced
  • 4 cups previously cooked leftover brown rice, grains separated well
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

In a bowl, toss the shrimp with the salt, pepper and cornstarch. Let the shrimp marinate for 10 minutes at room temperature. Heat a wok or large sauté pan on high heat. When the pan is hot enough for a bead of water to instantly sizzle and evaporate, add only 1 tablespoon of the cooking oil and swirl to coat pan.

Now add the shrimp, quickly spreading out around the pan so that they are not overlapping. Let the shrimp fry, untouched for 30 seconds. Flip over and let the other side fry for 30 seconds, or until about 80% cooked through. Remove the shrimp from the pan onto a plate, leaving as much oil in the pan as possible.

Turn the heat to medium and let the pan heat up again. Pour in the eggs, stirring in a quick motion to break up and scramble the eggs. When the eggs are almost cooked through (they should still be slightly runny in the middle), dish out of the frying pan onto the same plate as the cooked shrimp.

Use a paper towel to wipe the same wok or sauté pan clean (no need to wash) and return to high heat with the remaining 1 tablespoon of cooking oil, swirling to coat. When the oil is very hot, add the green onions and stir fry until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add in the rice and stir well to mix in the green onions throughout. Spread the rice all around the wok surface area and let the rice heat up, untouched until you hear the bottoms of the grains sizzle, about 1-2 minutes. Use the spatula to toss the rice, again spreading the rice out over the surface of wok or pan.

Drizzle the soy sauce all around the rice and toss. Add the cooked eggs, shrimp and sesame oil, tossing to mix the rice evenly with all of the ingredients. Let everything heat back up again, until the rice grains are so hot they practically dance! (I love Jaden’s writing here!) Taste and add an additional 1 teaspoon of soy sauce if needed, same with the sesame oil.

I finish mine with Sriracha hot sauce, naturally.

Yum! I’m so glad I made this and I can’t wait to make it again – vegetarian or with other meats. Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Shrimp and Grits with Andouille Sausage

Oh, shrimp and grits. So Southern, so low-country, so unhealthy. But what’s not to like about a combination of creole spices, firm shrimp, peppers, onions and sausage simmered with cream and then poured over grits (cornmeal) mixed with lots of cheese? I don’t know how shrimp and grits originally came to be, and I don’t much care. I’ve eaten all sorts of versions – with grits cakes, creamy grits, watery grits, seared shrimp, fried shrimp, boiled shrimp, etc. But never made my own…

I saw this recipe at Closet Cooking and it appealed to me because I happened to have many of the ingredients on hand. Part of my commitment to “being an adult” this year is to do more proactive grocery shopping: buying ingredients that are common across different meals and that have a long shelf life. Grits – I just used plain yellow cornmeal, which most cooks have; shrimp – had some in the freezer; andouille sausage – I had some left over from probably last year, but any smoked ham would do; onions, peppers, celery, cream, etc.

The recipe calls for cajun seasoning and wouldn’t you know it, I could only find creole. What’s the difference? This, again, falls into the I-don’t-care territory, and it still tasted so spicy and wonderful. #don’tsweatthesmallstuff

The only thing I would change next time is the peppers. I just don’t like peppers. And they figure prominently in this dish. Perhaps one jalapeno would do the trick? I’m not sure what the solution is, but I aim to find out.

I would also like to point out that Grant questioned why I was using cornmeal and not grits. Now, I’m not from here, but what’s the difference? He literally ate his words later, once his words were full of extra sharp cheddar cheese.

Adapted from Closet Cooking

Shrimp and Grits with Andouille Sausage

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup grits/cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 pound andouille sausage, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon cajun or creole seasoning
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning, or creole
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 handful parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup extra sharp cheddar, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
Bring the water to a boil, whisk in the grits, reduce the heat and simmer until tender.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and sear, about 3 minutes and set aside.
Toss the shrimp in the creole seasoning, add the shrimp to the pan and cook, about 2-3 minutes and set aside.
Heat the oil in the pan, add the onions, peppers and celery and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and creole seasoning and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the broth and tomato and simmer to reduce a bit, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage and shrimp, season with salt and pepper, mix in the cream, and remove from heat.
Whisk the butter and cheddar into the grits (they will be thick, like polenta….in fact, exactly like polenta) and remove from heat.
Serve the shrimp over the grits, sprinkling with green onions and parsley, to taste.

You also might want to add a dash or two of Texas Pete’s hot sauce, just for extra seasoning.

The grits are creamy and the extra-sharp cheddar is perfect in it. The shrimp remain firm and well seasoned, and the sauce is peppery and creamy. It fills you, top to bottom.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Shrimp Scampi

Merry Christmas! This was the first year that I’ve been away from “home” for Christmas. I visited my family and friends in the Northwest earlier in the month, spending the actual Christmas holiday with Grant and his family. It was really wonderful and an important step in making The South my new homebase…and creating new traditions.

On Christmas Eve, we walked to our neighborhood Moravian church for the Lovefeast ceremony – full of lots of beautiful choir music, Moravian buns (rolls with orange and vanilla), sweet coffee and beeswax candles that everyone holds at the end. Then, we came home and I made a seafood dish in keeping with the Italian tradition of having fish for the holidays.

After dinner, we made hot toddies and walked through the neighborhood, where each street was dotted with flickering luminaries. I don’t know who organizes the luminary thing, but it looks really magical – all those glowing lights trimming the streets, winding around the foothills of Buena Vista. There must have been thousands.

But back to food traditions – seafood at Christmas! I must have red meat on Christmas day, so seafood the night before is a wonderful balance. I made a recipe that I saw in Food Network Magazine from the amazing Lidia Bastianich, who is frequently featured in Bon Appetit and partnered with Mario Batali to create “Eataly” in NYC. I always wanted an Italian grandmother just like Lidia. So I should have known that this recipe would knock my socks off…

Scampi means heavy on the garlic and lemon…and butter. But Lidia’s recipe really goes above and beyond by creating a garlic-shallot paste that you treat much like and Indian curry paste – frying it in the pan until it dries out a little, then adding the liquids and simmering to thicken.

The flavors are aggressive and the seasoning is perfect – Grant about died when he snuck a spoonful of the buttery sauce simmering on the stove. I served mine over capellini, but it would also be good with crusty bread or any other thin pasta.

I have to call this recipe a MUST for anyone who loves Italian food, seafood and/or garlic.

Shrimp Scampi with Capellini

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 3 shallots, peeled and chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 7 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 lb. dry capellini pasta

Combine the shallots, 5 cloves garlic and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a food processor. Process to make a smooth paste. Set aside.

Pour 6 tablespoons olive oil and the remaining garlic into a large skillet over medium-high heat. Let the garlic sizzle for a minute, then add half of the shrimp and all of the thyme. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until the shrimp are seared but not fully cooked, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to a plate and repeat with the remaining shrimp and another 1/2 teaspoon salt. Remove the shrimp and thyme from the skillet to the plate.

Add the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil and the garlic-shallot paste to the same skillet set over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the paste has dried out and begins to stick to the bottom of the skillet, 2 to 3 minutes. Return the thyme to the skillet and pour in the white wine, lemon juice, the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 4 tablespoons butter and 1 cup water. Bring the sauce to a rapid boil and cook until reduced by half, 4 to 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Keep warm.

When the sauce has reduced, whisk in the remaining butter and return the shrimp to the pan. Cook and toss until the shrimp are coated with the sauce and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the breadcrumbs and bring to a boil just to thicken.

To serve, spoon shrimp mixture over pasta and garnish with more parsley and cracked pepper, if needed.

Rich and filling, this was just what we wanted on Christmas Eve.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Singapore Street Noodles

Singapore Street Noodles were my favorite dish at a restaurant called Soba in Bend, Ore. Soba was one of the few Asian restaurants in town, offering lots of yummy rice and noodle dishes, including a staff favorite: Singapore Street Noodles. The rice noodles were a bit spicy and smoky, mixed with perfectly cooked shrimp and egg. Like an even better  pad Thai.

Now I live on the East Coast and the Singapore Street Noodles have a distinct difference: curry. It adds a heat, sweetness and turmeric hue to the dish. Definitely different from my little Oregon dish, but just as satisfying.

I was so happy to see No Recipes post his version of the dish, and I quickly made it myself with a few tweaks.

Singapore Street Noodles

Ingredients:

  • 5.5 ounces dried rice vermicelli (a.k.a. mai fun)
  • 1 lb. small shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced
  • 8 ounce can of strip bamboo, rinsed and drained
  • 4 ounces bean sprouts
  • 3 green onions, sliced thin
  • Canola oil for stir-frying

Note: do ALL prep work ahead of time because cooking is fast.

Heat a medium pot with water. When almost boiling, add rice noodles and remove from heat. Let soak for 3 minutes, stirring to loosen. Rinse in cold water several times to prevent the noodles from absorbing too much water and to wash off excess starch. Set aside.

Add the shrimp to a bowl and season with the soy sauce, vinegar and corn starch. Set aside.

Measure out the curry powder into a small bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the fish sauce, oyster sauce and chicken stock. Set both aside.

Heat a large skillet over high heat until very hot then add a tablespoon of oil. Add the egg, scrambling. Transfer the egg to a plate and set aside.

Add 2 more tablespoons of oil to the pan, then add the garlic and ginger and then fry until fragrant. Add the shrimp and saute until just turning pink, 2 min.

Add the onion, bamboo, and bean sprouts. Fry while stirring vigorously, 2-3 min. Add the curry powder and stir-fry until fragrant, 30 seconds, then pour in the chicken stock and fish sauce mixture. Stir to combine, then add the noodles, coating with the sauce (use tongs).

Top with scallions and serve!

Yummy! The only thing better than having Asian take-out is making your own and having tons of leftovers to bring for lunch. Carb heaven without the MSG hangover!

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Thai Basil Shrimp Risotto

More risotto! This recipe calls itself Thai, but if you don’t use Thai basil and instead use the sweet basil about to go to seed in your backyard, it’s just a nice shrimp risotto.

I roasted my shrimp because I still believe that gives them the best flavor, and then added them at the end to combine with the rice, fresh basil and lime juice. Now, the lime was an interesting addition. Gave it a different sort of acidity that I quite liked. The final product wasn’t as robust in flavor compared to my heavier, bacon-flavored risotto, but it was still nice and creamy, with the fresh bite of shrimp.

A fun way to use the last of the summer basil…

Thai Basil Shrimp Risotto

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • EVOO
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 3/4 c. arborio rice
  • 1 c. dry white wine
  • 4-5 c. chicken stock, simmering
  • 12 basil leaves, sliced into strips
  • Juice of 1 lime

Heat oven to 400 and toss shrimp with few tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, then place on baking sheet. Bake until cooked, 7-10 min. Set aside.

Put 1 T oil and butter in hot risotto pan and when hot, add garlic and onions, sauteeing 1 to 2 min. Add rice and stir 2 min. Add wine, deglaze pan and reduce heat to simmer until moisture is absorbed. Ladle in stock, 1/2 c. at a time, stirring almost constantly, until moisture is absorbed and rice just loses its grainy bite, roughly 20 min. Add shrimp, basil, 2 T butter and lime juice. Stir to combine.

Test for seasonings and serve.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Chilled Cucumber Soup with Roasted Shrimp

I’m just starting to appreciate cucumbers. Hated them most of my life, except in pickle form, but now I’m seeing them as a refreshing, crunchy summertime staple. I like them sliced into my water, my gin & tonic, my couscous salad and now, into a chilled soup.

I have to admit that although this recipe was good and Grant LOVED it, I still am not a chilled-soup kind of gal. Soups need to be thick and steaming and hearty for me to gulp them down. Chilled soups, on the other hand, are like tomato-based bloody marys – better for me to delicately sip in small doses.

The flavors are strong and Ina Garten’s recipe is aggressively seasoned – next time, I’ll go a little easier on the salt. But it’s probably still less salty than any soup you’ll find canned.

As a topping, I roasted some shrimp in the oven at 400 degrees, simply dressed with olive oil and salt/pepper. After 7 minutes, I took them out and sprinkled them with lemon zest and they were done. I then placed them atop each bowl of soup. Then, when I realized that was poor planning, I chopped the shrimp into big chunks and then scattered on top – much easier to eat!

Adapted from Ina Garten:

Chilled Cucumber Soup with Roasted Shrimp

Ingredients

  • 2 (17-ounce) containers Greek yogurt (I used 21 oz total)
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half (I just used 1 c. water because I didn’t have any)
  • 3 farm-fresh cucumbers, unpeeled, seeded and chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 9 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt (gah! Use way less – start with 1 T)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (6 lemons)
  • Roasted shrimp, for garnish – I used 3/4 lb.
  • Thin slices of lemon, halved, for garnish
  • Fresh dill, for garnish

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the yogurt, water, cucumbers, red onion, scallions, salt, and pepper.

Transfer the mixture in batches to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until the cucumbers are coarsely pureed and then pour into another bowl. Continue processing the soup until all of it is pureed. Fold in the dill, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until very cold.

Just before serving, stir in the lemon juice. Serve chilled, garnished with the shrimp, lemon, and fresh dill.

As you can see, even though I used less yogurt and plain old water instead of half/half, my soup was still nice and creamy – and without the added fat! The lemon and dill really add a nice freshness, and the onion gives it a little heat.

If I were going to serve this to company, I would do it as a first course, in small glasses instead of bowls, with the shrimp, lemon and dill on top – add a little more lemon zest just for color.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Roasted Shrimp with Fennel and Feta

This is one of those dishes that I just couldn’t photograph in a way to fully illustrate how incredibly delicious it is. A serious problem for someone always pointing a camera at her plate.

Regardless, I hope you read on, as this is one of the more beautifully delicious shrimp dishes I have made, and all in one pot. Roasting the shrimp with freshly sauteed fennel, tomatoes and herbs, topped with homemade breadcrumbs and crumbled feta cheese and a squeeze of lemon. Fresh and light and just delicious.

I adapted it from Ina Garten, of course, and my version is even simpler than hers, without sacrificing any flavor.

Roasted Shrimp with Fennel and Feta

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

  • Good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups diced fennel (1 bulb)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 c. chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch dried anise seed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 ounces feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
  • 1 cup fresh torn pieces of bread
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 lemons

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in 10- or 12-inch heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-low heat. Add the fennel and garlic and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender. Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits clinging to the bottom of the skillet, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, oregano, anise seed, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to the skillet. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Arrange the shrimp in one layer over the tomato mixture in the skillet.

Scatter feta evenly over the shrimp. In bowl of a food processor, add the bread and pulse until it becomes small crumbs. Add parsley, lemon zest and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and pulse to combine. Sprinkle evenly over the shrimp.

Bake the shrimp for about 15 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through and the bread crumbs are golden brown.

Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the shrimp. Serve hot with wedges of lemon.

This totally works. The shrimp loves the lemon and lemony feta, and the fennel and tomato mixture creates a delicious sauce to hold it all. We had ours with a simple green salad and crusty bread to mop up the juices. Perfect for a summer dinner and I had plenty of leftovers for lunch!

Enjoy, friends xoxo

Cajun-Spiced Skillet Shrimp and Rice

I’m not really one of those 30-Minute Meals people, or people who are good about thinking ahead so meal-prep is a cinch. But once in a while I’ll be inspired, or bored, so I’ll think ahead enough to make tasty, quick-and-easy weeknight meals like this Cajun-spiced skillet shrimp and rice.

I saw it featured on the Food Network website, which I rarely visit unless I’m searching an Ina Garten recipe. The reviews were glowing, and now I can add mine to the mix!

It’s easy because the shrimp cooks in no time, and you make the rice beforehand, adding at the end to warm through. Despite it’s speedy preparation and cooking time, it’s not semi-homemade at all, using fresh tomatoes, lots of green onions and my home-made Emeril’s Essence (you can use any Cajun seasoning on hand).

I doubled the spice in mine, so it was very peppery, which we liked. Adjust to your tastes.

Cajun-Spiced Skillet Shrimp and Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (original recipe calls for 2)
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 plum tomatoes, chopped (or one really big heirloom tomato)
  • 2 bunches scallions, chopped
  • 3 cups cooked white rice (can be made day ahead)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)

Heat the butter, olive oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the shrimp, then Cajun seasoning and cook, stirring, until the shrimp begin to curl, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and scallions to the skillet and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Taste for seasonings.

Add the rice (might want to heat in microwave for 1 min, if made day before) and 1/4 cup water (if necessary – I didn’t because my tomato was so juicy) and continue to cook until the rice is warmed through and the shrimp are opaque, about 3 more minutes. Stir in the parsley and serve with lemon, if desired.

I just realized it’s also pretty durn healthy!

Per serving: Calories 357; Fat 11 g (Saturated 3 g); Cholesterol 176 mg; Sodium 537 mg; Carbohydrate 40 g; Fiber 3 g; Protein 23 g

Hearty enough for any hungry man or woman, with a nice spicy kick and fresh taste and texture of good shrimp. I think next time, I will also add some sort of spicy sausage, so it tastes like jambalaya.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Mardi Gras Jambalaya

I don’t normally celebrate Mardi Gras, unless it’s as an excuse to eat cakes with plastic babies inside.

This year, I attended a dinner party where everyone brought a different Mardi Gras-themed dish. We had “King’s Cake,” dirty rice, gumbo and my shrimp-andouille-chicken jambalaya.

Having never made jambalaya before, I expected it to be more like a thick stew or gumbo. However, it was lighter in color and more of a rice-stew, wonderfully spicy and full of a complexity of flavors that kicked me in the pants. Totally makes up for the fact that it took all day to prepare, created a huge mess and almost made me lose my mind. Honestly, all the searing, then browning, then sweating, then simmering, then skimming, then shredding … it seemed impossible that I could make this ahead and bring it to the party.

But the results, and the amount of leftovers, made it worth everything (and I mean that). Even the green and red bell pepper added a good flavor, but didn’t make me gag (I hate those things). Emeril wrote the recipe well, adding the shrimp just at the end, when you’ve taken it off the heat, so they slowly cook through and are just perfect. You can smell them mixing with the other rich flavors, but it’s not overpowering or fishy.

My only regret is the rice. I played with the portions a bit to fit in my not-gigantic Dutch oven, so the rice didn’t cook perfectly. But that’s more of a texture thing.

I highly recommend making your own “Essence,” I will definitely be using this bold spice mix on other things.

Here it is, adapted from Emeril Lagasse,

Mardi Gras Jambalaya

Ingredients:

  • 5-pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs or thighs/legs (he used duck)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, diced
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery hearts
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons Emeril’s Original Essence, recipe follows
  • Two 28-oz. cans peeled whole tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 3 bay leaves, fresh or dried
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1-2 quarts low-sodium chicken stock (or water, if you run out) – just use what fits in your pot
  • 2 c. long-grain white rice (I adjusted, down from 3 c. If you get 2 qt stock in your pot, use the whole 3 c.)
  • 1 pound small shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup chopped green onions (green and white parts)
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Yield: 2/3 cup

Method:

Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear for 5 minutes. Turn and sear on the second side for 3 minutes. Remove from the pot and drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Add the sausage to the fat in the pot and cook, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes (there will be lots of liquid, just leave it). Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, salt, cayenne, 1 tablespoon of the Essence, and black pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, garlic, and bay leaves and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes.

Add the thyme, stock, and chicken (as much as you can fit in your pot – I had to stew my meat in batches). Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally for 50 minutes.

Remove chicken pieces from the jambalaya and cool slightly. Skim off the fat. Discard skin and bones and shred meat.

Add the rice and bring back up to a simmer, cover and cook until the rice is barely tender, about 10 minutes.

Return the chicken meat to the mixture. Season the shrimp with the remaining 1 tablespoon Essence. Add the shrimp to the pot, return to a simmer, and cover. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit, covered, for 15 minutes.

Add the green onions and parsley and stir gently. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Adjust the salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste. Serve directly from the pot.

I know you’ll enjoy this, friends! xoxo