Cajun Shrimp Stew

December 29th, 2011

Here is an easy shrimp dish with a New Orleans slant.  We have been traveling so much this holiday season that I have found easy meals, while we are home, the only option.  We got back to Florida yesterday and are heading to Charleston for New Years with our friends tomorrow.

Enjoy the New Year’s celebrations and I will see you back here in 2012.  My blog’s 4th anniversary is approaching and I will be having a giveaway and hopefully a new look.

CAJUN SHRIMP STEW (Gourmet Magazine)

2 tablespoons vegetale oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small celery rib, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped geen bell pepper
1 cup bottled clam juice (8 fl oz)
3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 1/4 lb peeled and deveined large shrimp
1/3 cup thinly sliced scallion greens

Accompaniment: White Rice

Stir together oil and flour in a 10-inch heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron) with a metal or wooden spatula, then cook over moderate heat, scraping back and forth constantly, until roux is the color of light milk chocolate, 10 to 12 minutes.

Add onion, celery, and bell pepper and cook, scraping back and forth occasionally, until bell pepper is softened, about 8 minutes.  Stir in clam juice, water, salt, and cayenne and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is thickened, 8 to 10 minutes.  Stir in shrimp and simmer, stirring occasionally, until shrimp is just cooked through, 3 to 4 mintues.  Stir in scallion greens and salt to taste.

Printable recipe

Shrimp Scampi Pasta with Grilled Cantaloupe

August 13th, 2010

My husband is the seafood cook in our house.  He is always suprising me with the quality of the dishes he turns out.  I usually try to stay out of his way while he is in the kitchen because it is hard for me to turn over the job to him without commenting on the way he is doing things.  I am a control freak in that way.  So I let him get creative and then I clean up the mess when he is finished.  It is always worth it.

Shrimp scampi is so delightful and so rich.  It is even better when that richness is tempered with angel hair pasta which soaks up all of the buttery goodness.  He found a recipe on Epicurious and adapted it to his liking.  We are both big fans of lemon flavors and capers so he added them to the recipe.  This was such a refreshing pasta dish.  I could have eaten the whole bowl.  It was also very simple to make and didn’t require a whole lot of clean up by the sous chef.

With the pasta, he grilled a tasty cantaloupe recipe that we have been making for a few years.  The original recipe came from one of the Food Network Stars who did not actually win, but her recipes were featured in Bon Appeptit magazine.  The cantaloupe does not spend much time on the grill;  just enough time to give it the grill marks and warm it.  It is seasoned with honey and cayenne pepper.  It is an explosion of flavor on your palate!  Hope you enjoy these recipes.  It is so very much worth it to share the cooking.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lb peeled and deveined large shrimp (raw; 20 to 25 per lb)
4 large garlic cloves, forced through a garlic press
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
3 tablespoons drained capers
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 lb angel hair pasta
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Bring a large stock pot of salted water to a boil.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a 12 inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then saute shrimp, turning over once, until just cooked through, about 2 minutes, and transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl.  Add garlic to oil remaining in skillet along with red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, wine, salt, and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, 1 minute.  Add butter to skillet, stirring until melted, and stir in shrimp.  Remove skillet from heat.
Cook pasta in boiling water until just tender.  Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water, then drain pasta in a colander.  Toss pasta well with shrimp mixture and parsley in large bowl, adding some of the reserved cooking water if necessary to keep moist. 
GRILLED CANTALOUPE ( Recipe courtesy of Rory Schepisi)
1 cantaloupe peeled and cut into wedges
honey to taste
cayenne pepper to taste
Grill cantaloupe slices on 1 side until showing grill marks, about 3 minutes.  Turn and grill for another minute.  Mound grilled side up on platter.  Brush with honey; sprinkle with cayenne pepper. 
Note:  It seems I forgot how to spell cantaloupe. Thanks for the wake up call in your comments. I checked the spelling in my copy of Food Lover’s Companion.

Grilled Herb Shrimp with Mango Salsa

May 27th, 2010

It is Barefoot Blogger Thursday once again and this is a special one for me because it was my turn to pick the recipe from one of Ina Garten’s wonderful cookbooks. It did not take me long to make my selection. With the Memorial Day holiday just around the corner, it seemed appropriate to pick a grilling recipe. Grilled herb shrimp is just perfect. It can be found in Barefoot Contessa Parties! If you are planning on cooking burgers or steaks on the grill, the shrimp would make a great appetizer to cook before the rest of the meat goes on the barbie. Just add fewer shrimp per skewer. But it also makes a great meal on it’s own. It is easy and quick. The shrimp have a citrusy flavor from the lemon juice and the mustard and herbs add alot of flavor. Served with the mango salsa it is even better. The salsa has a sweet undertone with just a hint of a kick from the jalapeno pepper. I can think of no better way to celebrate the beginning of summer. Check out what the other Barefoot Bloggers did with this recipe. This is one of Ina’s “What’s not to love about that.” recipes.


3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium yellow onion, small-diced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup good olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2 pounds jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 per pound), peeled (tails left on) and deveined

Mango Salsa (recipe follows)

Combine the garlic, onion, parsley, basil, mustards, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice. Add the shrimp and allow them to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Prepare a charcoal grill with hot coals, brush the grilling rack with oil to prevent the shrimp from sticking. Skewer the shrimp. (I soaked the skewers in cold water for a few hours.) Ina used 5 to 6 shrimp on a 12-inch skewer for a dinner serving. Grill the shrimp for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Serve with the Mango Salsa. This can also be done on a gas grill.


2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion (2 onions)
2 teaspoons peeled, minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 ripe mangos, peeled, seeded, and small-diced
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeno pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons minced fresh mint leaves

Saute the olive oil, onions, and ginger in a large saute pan over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions are transluscent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the mangos; reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 more minutes. Add the orange juice, brown sugar, salt, black pepper, and jalapenos; cook for 10 more minutes, or until the orange juice is reduced, stirring occasionally.

Remove from the heat and add the mint. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

Here is a brief garden update. My first tomato looks wonderful. I can hardly wait for the tomato bounty.

As fast as squash grows, I expect to be making a squash casserole by next week.

Shrimp with Lemon Pepper Pasta

May 2nd, 2010

There is a wonderful tailgate market in the historic town of Flat Rock not far from our home. Local farmers, herbalists, flower vendors, wild mushroom collectors and meat and seafood purveyors convene in a picturesque shady dell behind the local bakery and antique shop to sell their specialities. The market is held every Thursday from 3:00 to 6:00. This early in the season it is prudent to get there by 3:00.

All of the Spring vegetables go quickly. Unfortunately we did not arrive until after 4:00 and there was very little left. But what we did find were beautiful shrimp caught off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida. The seafood vendor said that he normally gets his fresh seafood from the Carolina coast, but that it was too early for that. The shrimp were beautiful and very large. We decided to do a simple pasta dish with them. I love lemon with my seafood pasta dishes. It lightens and brightens the heaviness of the pasta. And since I used whole wheat spaghetti in this recipe it was necessary. The recipe does not call for mushrooms, but I already had some sauteed mushrooms from another meal, so feel free to add them if you like. We loved this so much that it will be repeated often.
1 lb of large shrimp
1/4 cup butter
4 to 6 cloves of garlic
4 green onions, minced
8 ounces of spaghetti or linguine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
salt to taste
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
In a large skillet melt butter and saute shrimp, garlic and green onions just until shrimp turn pink. In a large saucepan combine chicken broth, wine, lemon juice and lemon zezt and cook to reduce slightly. Add liquid to shrimp skillet. Keep warm while you cook the pasta according to package directions. Save a little pasta water just in case you need it. Sprinkle basil and parsley on shrimp. Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet. Toss to combine and add a little pasta water if it is too dry. Plate and serve.

Sauteed Shrimp in Beurre Blanc with Spring Vegetables in Puff Pastry

March 28th, 2010

I love watching Tyler Florence’s ultimate recipes on The Food Network. Everything he makes looks like perfection. Last week he made this recipe using scallops and I was determined to try it. When I got to the supermarket shrimp were about half the price of scallops and since I have been cooking alot of scallops lately, I thought the shrimp would be a good alternative. The carrots he used in the recipe were fresh baby carrots and they looked like they had just been pulled from the earth and gently washed. All I could find were the bagged small carrots that I usually avoid. Tyler used wild chanterelle mushrooms but there was not a wild mushroom in sight at the market, so I used plain button mushrooms. The beurre blanc sauce that he used got several negative reviews and was heavy on the vinegar and butter so I looked for a buerre blanc sauce that was kinder to our weight loss program. (As an update I am 8 pounds lighter and am looking forward to walking the mountain roads in Lake Lure). He did suggest that frozen peas were a fine substitute for fresh baby peas so that was not a problem. I already had one sheet of puff pastry in the freezer that had been there for a time and when I cooked my pastry cups they did not get as tall as Tyler’s but I persevered with my prep work wondering how I could have gotten so off base with a recipe. By the time I plated the food, it looked very appetizing, and when we sat down to eat, it all tasted outstanding. Just imagine what it would be like if I had all of the right ingredients. This recipe is a keeper and when I get to the Farmer’s Market in Asheville I will be looking for fresh baby carrots, fresh peas in the pod and wild chanterelle mushrooms.


1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed and cut into 4 1/2 inch diameter circles
1 egg, lightly beaten
Sea salt (I used Kosher salt)
1 cup sweet baby peas or frozen peas run under warm water to thaw
2 bunches baby carrots, trimmed and peeled with a little stem left on
1 pound shelled and deveined shrimp or 1 pound scallops
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pint chanterelles, halved (or similar wild mushrooms)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Beurre Blanc:
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 stick unsalted butter cut into small cubes and kept cold
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Begin by baking the puff pastry cups. Lay the thawed puff pastry sheet on a light floured surface. Using a 4 1/2 inch round cutter, cut out 4 circles. Set them on a parchement-lined sheet pan. Lightly score the tops of the puff pastry with a 4 inch round cutter. This will help remove the top of the puff pastry after it is cooked, to create a cup. Beat egg then use a a pastry brush to brush the tops. Season with sea salt and place into the preheated oven. Bake in oven for 12 to 15 minutes until golden and crispy. Once cooled, cut the tops of the cups off and lay bases out on plates with the tops next to them.

For the carrots and peas. If using fresh baby carrots, add carrots to a pot of boiling water and blanch them until they are tender but firm, about 2 minutes. If using fresh peas add them about 1 minute after the carrots. Drain the vegetables and set aside. If using bagged small carrots, place on a sheet pan with a drizzle of olive oil and roast in the oven until slightly browned. If using frozen peas, run them under warm water to thaw.

Clean the shrimp or scallops and season with salt and pepper. Set a large saute pan over high heat and add olive oil. Once heated, add shrimp and cook until they just turn pink. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook until done. Return the shrimp to the pan along with the carrots and peas. Keep warm.

Make the beurre blanc sauce. Add the minced shallot, vinegar and wine to a small saucepan. Cook over medium high heat until liquid is reduced to 2 tablespoons. Add the cream and warm it in the pan. Reduce the heat to low and add the cold butter cubes a few at a time whisking to incorporate them. Continue adding cubes and whisking until all of the butter is incorporated into the sauce. Keep the heat low so the butter does not separate. Remove from heat.

To serve, portion out the shrimp mixture in and around the pastry cups on the plates. Spoon sauce on shrimp mixture and put tops back on pastry cups. Serve immediately.

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.