Good morning all.
Time to wake up and smell the gravy!
Hope everybody is surviving the beginning of the long-ass NFL offseason.
I know why you’re here. You’re here for the goddamn gravy! And boy howdy do we have a good one today. It’s truly the best of both worlds. It’s tasty as a motherfucker and easy as fuck to make.
It’s time to, once again, head back to one of my favorite food destination cities on the planet.
We’re going back to New Orleans, y’all.
Oh yes, we’ve explored the Big Easy, culinarily speaking, many, many time before.
We had this baby.
That would be a plate of grillades and grits. Click and read if you want the dirty low-down.
We also cooked its more familiar cousin…
In addition, we’ve done your quasi-Cajun shrimp boil.
And we did the famous Red Beans and Rice!
Step right up and try some Blackened Chicken Alfredo!
With your Creole spices and the homemade pasta, don’t ya know. Think I might be messing around with homemade pasta again this season? Fuck yes I will.
And we did the requisite jambalaya. Two ways!
Hint: There may be a new Creole recipe or two pretty soon.
Just know that my Creole bonafides (you can pronounce that “bone-a-fee-days” if you like) are strong.
First time I had New Orleans style barbecue shrimp was at Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse in the French Quarter. We were sitting at the bar waiting for our table and the bartender suggested we try it.
Mind. Fucking. Blown.
They serve extra large Gulf shrimp with the heads on. Yeah, I had to get a little help on the first shrimp to figure out the head removal thing. Trick is to snap the head back towards the carapace, snap that fucker off and then suck the juice out of it. Then you peel the shrimp, dip it in the sauce and get fucking messy.
One of the most delicious things I’ve ever experienced.
They also serve the shrimp with a loaf of extra crusty French bread for dipping in the sauce.
Hang on. I’m gonna need a quick change of undies, I’ll be right back.
We’ve got to get something out of the way, there is nothing about this dish that is barbecued. The shrimp is cooked in a skillet with a savory sauce that’s mostly butter, lemon, hot sauce, garlic and Worcestershire sauce. Think there’s a little beer added in as well.
Did I mention that it’s a shitload of butter?
One of the most critical components of this dish is the French bread. The bite you’ll remember is the bread dipped into the shrimp/butter sauce. It’s goddamn magical.
A quandary though, where do we get the bread? I know I’ve lamented the fact that we can’t get good French Bread out here in L.A. I’ve probably bitched about it many, many times.
Please realize you will NEVER find better bread than in New Orleans so don’t try to reach that lofty height.
So what’s an aspiring cook to do?
We’re gonna make that shit ourselves!
You regular readers know I like doing the homemade bread thing. The first time I made a bunch of French bread…
Was when I made the homemade Banh Mi.
But I’ve made fresh bread many times since, so we’ve had a bunch of practice.
This is a really simple recipe, perfect for making a single loaf of bread.
Let’s get after this motherfucker!
recipe very much inspired by Tasteofhome.com
3 cups of all purpose flour
1 package of active dry yeast
1 cup of warm water around 110 degrees
2 tablespoons of a neutral cooking oil like canola
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
About a tablespoon of cornmeal
1 egg white
1 tablespoon of cold water
Before we get started you have to realize that the reason I said this was simple is because I’ve got this fucker right?
If you don’t have a Kitchenaid stand mixer it’s probably gonna be a bit more of a pain in the ass.
First off place the yeast and the warm water into the working bowl of the mixer. You did check the water for proper temperature yes? Then add in the sugar, salt, oil and about 2 cups of flour. Using the paddle attachment for the mixer, give this shit a spin for a minute or two.
Now start adding in the remaining flour until you’ve made a fairly stiff dough.
The recipe says to dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead BY HAND for 7-8 minutes. Are you shitting me here? Fuck that.
Put that hook attachment on the mixer, set a kitchen timer to about 7 minutes, switch the mixer on and walk the fuck away.
This will knead the bread perfectly.
Next get yo’self a bowl and lightly lube the inside of the bowl with some cooking oil. Shape the dough into a nice round ball, place into the bowl and give it a little roll to coat all sides of the bread with oil.
This will need to be placed in a warm area to allow it to rise. I set the bowl next to the stove while I was preparing my weekly batch of chicken breast that sustains me from Monday through Friday, so the kitchen was nice and warm.
Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let rise for an hour until the dough has doubled in size.
Punch the dough down, shape into a ball again, place back in the bowl and let rise a second time for about 30 minutes.
Punch the dough down again, then shape the dough into a loaf shape that has tapered ends and place it onto a baking pan that has been lightly sprinkled with the cornmeal. You don’t need a ton of cornmeal, just enough to help keep the dough from sticking while it cooks.
Next we’re going to…
Let rise again for another 30 minutes until the loaf doubles in size.
Make an egg wash with the egg whites and the cold water by placing into a small bowl and mixing. Coat the entire outside of the loaf with the egg wash. Then using a small sharp knife, cut slits into the top of the loaf diagonally. Make the slits a couple of inches apart.
Place the loaf into an oven that’s been preheated to 375. After 30 minutes, you should have something like this.
Remove to a wire rack to cool.
Check that shit out!
You just made bread you sly bastard!
Now, we need a quick discussion about making this into a meal. Barbecue shrimp is generally served as an appetizer not as a complete meal. We had some hungry faces to feed so we need to consider this.
I decided to make an old favorite, you know the angel hair, garlic parmesan noodle thing that I’ve made in the past?
It’s about half a package of cooked angel hair pasta, then make a sauce with half a stick of butter, 4 cloves of minced garlic, 3/4 cups of fresh parmesan cheese, cup and a half of heavy cream, add the pasta, sprinkle with chives etc.
The recipe is in that link right there. It’s fucking delicious too. Then I added a side spinach salad and that rounded things out.
Boom! A fucking meal.
Get all of your prep and your sides done first because the barbecue shrimp dish? That shit takes just a few minutes to make and you want to have your entire attention focused on it while working your goddamn culinary magic.
New Orleans Style Barbecue Shrimp.
2 pounds of extra large shrimp, shells on. Heads on if you can find them.
2 tablespoons of essence – yes we’ve discussed essence about 27 fucking times. If you’ve got a Creole seasoning you prefer you can use that fucker instead.
1 lemon, juiced. Keep one half of the lemon rind for a garnish.
5-6-7-8 A fucking shitload of garlic cloves minced
1 tablespoon of oil
3 tablespoons of Worcestershire
3 tablespoons of Louisiana hot sauce – I used Red Rooster as always
1/3 cup of beer
1 stick of COLD butter cut into cubes.
Some minced green onion to garnish.
Ready for the speed round?
Prepare your shrimp by de-veining them. Leave the shells on!
When cleaned, toss the shrimp with 1 tablespoon of the essence and reserve the other tablespoon.
Now we’ve got to mince up that garlic.
Then we gots, I say, we gots to juice that lemon!
Gather your shrimp ingredients together.
Grab a skillet and get that thing over a medium heat.
Shit yes I used my cast iron skillet! Take the tablespoon of cooking oil and coat the skillet with it. When the skillet is ready, in goes the minced garlic.
Quick stir here. Remember our motto that “Burnt Garlic Is Bullshit!” Just a few seconds of cooking then add in the shrimp and toss with the garlic.
Cook for a couple of minutes then in goes the lemon juice, the hot sauce, the other tablespoon of essence, the Worcestershire sauce and the lemon rind. Give it a biggol stir.
Now we’re gonna add in the beer and cook for about 2 minutes. We’re going to cook just until the shrimp turns that familiar shade of pink. Now in goes the cubes of butter. Use about 1/3 at a time.
Stir until the butter melts, then add in another 3rd of the butter, stir and melt, final 1/3 of butter then boosh!
Garnish with the green onion and this shit is ready for its close-up!
Let’s go ahead and plate our sides, shall we?
Remember why we made the bread? To sop up the juices from the barbecue shrimp? I ladled my shrimp into a bowl and grabbed a good amount of the juice for sopping. Slice yourself a few slices of bread and prepare the eating theater!
Other accessories will include an empty bowl to place your shrimp shells and a metric shit ton of napkins. Be forewarned though. This shit is MESSY!
You’re gonna eat some shrimp, then you’re gonna grab that bread and dip it into the sauce like so.
That’s the fucking BITE right there.
You’re gonna dig into those side dishes and you are going to just make an ungodly mess!
What I do before eating is grab yourself 3 ice cold beers and just line those fuckers up next to your plate. You’re going to kill them in ritualistic fashion while shrimp shells and bread crumbs and other shit is just bouncing off the ceiling.
Eat as the Lord intended! With some goddamn abandon!
I mean just look at this.
It’s savory, it’s succulent, it’s slightly spicy, it’s garlicky it’s buttery. It’s fucking insanely delicious is what it is.
Fast, simple and legendary!
Make this shit people. You deserve it!
As always, thanks for being there good folks. YOU are the reason Sunday Gravy exists.
Enjoy your – hopefully – long weekend.
See you next week.