It's always a pleasure to let the "bons Temps" roll, anytime, but to actually let them roll in New Orleans just rocks!. For those who have not done this, please put it on your 1000 things to do list because it is unforgettable. Upon arrival, assuming it is around lunchtime, head for the Gumbo Shop.
This is exactly what we did and quickly ordered the Crawfish Etouffe and the Seafood Okra Gumbo along with a Gumbo Z’herbs. After sharing the tastes all around and several bottles of nice Italian red it was time to move on through some of the surrounding shops and bars in the Quarter. We bought some hot Panamas at Shushans on Jackson Square. Close by, we found masks that later, at home, became wall decore and in the same landmark shop they sampled the scents of New Orleans. In The Perfume Shop, we chose "Kus Kus" for her and Ventivert for him. In minutes, sensing that the balmy, boozy high was waning, we headed for the citadel of barfly mania like heat seeking missiles. We found Pat O'Brien's. To see this legendary party in action press here. PARTY! The first thing they did, admitting they had a secret death wish, was to line up for the Hurricanes, a frightening, cherry kool aid colored, drink, in a huge hour glass shaped goblet. (Check out how to make one here). After this, everything just fell into place. All the action just flowed. It rambled into the streets for parades, to other spots for incredible music, and bumped into people, making friends for just an instant, that seemed, in that delirious moment, a lifetime.
After we arrived home, sated and staggering with tiny chaotic spots before our eyes, we created this dish, designed to celebrate Fat Tuesday from afar.
Shrimp Etouffee with Lemon-Mace White Fluffy Rice
To start we are posting this little video from K. Paul on how to make a roux.
Without this skill, the dish is really not going to work.
12-16 largest possible shrimp
2 tbls. Seasoning (Emeril’s or Zattarans as a short cut or make your own. See below)
1/3 cup canola oil, 1/3 cup shortening like Crisco, 1/3 cup clarified butter plus 1 tbls. Bacon or duck fat.
1 cup flour
1-1/2 cup chopped celery
2 large shallots chopped fine
1-1/2 chopped yellow onion
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 jalapenos seeded and chopped fine
2 bay leaves
1 long orange peel
1 tbls. Minced garlic
Dash of ground cloves
2 cups chopped peeled tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth (plus extra)
2 tsp. Crystal or Tabasco hot sauce
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (if needed for last minute)
1/2 cup chopped parsely & 1/4 cup chopped chives for garnish
To Begin: Refresh the shrimp with a little cold water, a touch of lemon juice and a sprinkle of the seasoning and put aside in fridge.
Make a roux: Combine oil, butter, Crisco & bacon fat in a well tempered cast iron skillet or pot sprayed liberally with a non-stick like Pam original. Follow K. Pauls directions. Just as the fats begin to slightly smoke over medium heat, sprinkle in the flour and stir constantly with a wire wisk or wooden spoon. Do not leave it alone because if it burns it’s lost. This can take around 20 minutes or more, rewarding the cook with a mesmerizing scent of nuts. Do this very, very slowly...think of it as a kind of meditation because it must come to the dark brown color of milk chocolate to be rich enough.
When the roux is done...
Add the celery, onions, shallots, bell peppers, chillies and cook, stirring often for 7 minutes. Add the bay leaves, orange peel, cloves and garlic, cook for another 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, hot sauce and 1 cup of broth. Stir to get to a silky sauce. Add the seasoning. Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered for about an hour, until a thin oil fil appaers on the surface. Stir often to prevent sticking. Increase the heat to medium, add the broth. (have extra handy in case you need more) the sauce should be a thick gravy. Add salt, cayenne and cook another 15 min. let stand. Prepare white fluffy rice according to classic methods and add a lemon rind strip with a spritz of mace before cookiing.
Now grill the shrimp, basting with clarified butter...
To plate: Remove the shrimp from the shell. Place the sauce on the plate, with dots to surround, and top with white rice formed in a ball. Toss on the chopped chives and parsley like confetti. Add more sauce to the top of the rice and then crown with the giant shrimps and you have some Mardi Grass dazzle.
For a real kick on Fat Tuesday, watch Justin Wilson whip up some Gumbo...