Since it's Ash Wednesday and since I'm a Catholic, I can't eat meat today. When I was living in New Orleans which is a a predominatly Catholic city, this was not a problem. Just about every eatery had a lenten seafood special on Ash Wednesday and on Fridays during lent. Living in the Smokies which is in the middle of the "Bible Belt", retaurants are not aware of our lenten practices. I started racking my brain yesterday trying to think of something the cook for dinner tonight besides frozen square breaded fish. I remembered that shortly after Hurricane Katrina when we moved back to New Orleans (we lucked into an apartment in LaPlace, Louisiana instead of a FEMA trailer), Kaitlin and I were home alone one Friday night and decided to make BBQ Shrimp. Neither of us care for the traditional New Orleans BBQ Shrimp cooked in an oily butter sauce with the shells on. They are good but way too messy. We opted for trying to make a dish with the same wonderful taste but with a creamer sauce and no shells that could be served over rice, pasta or just soaked up with a piece of crunchy french bread. Here's what we came up with...
BBQ Shrimp - Peel 2 lbs. of large shrimp leaving the tail and last section near the tail entact and reserve the shells. Season the shrimp with either Emeril's Essence (receipe at bottom) or Zatarain's Creole Seasoning. Work the shrimp with your hands to coat evenly and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. In a large pot heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. In heated oil saute half of a small onion coarsely chopped and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Saute for a minute or two and then add reserved shrimp shells, 1 tablespoon of Essence or Creole seasoning, 1 bay leaf, two lemons peeled and squeezed, 2 cups of water, 1/2 cup Lea & Perrins, and 1/4 cup white wine. Bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
After about 15 to 20 minutes strain stock into a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes until stock will become dark brown, thick and syrupy. This will make about 4 tablespoons of your BBQ base.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, add 1 tablesppon of extra virgin olive oil and saute seasoned shrimp for a couple of minutes until they turn pink or opaque. Lower heat to medium and add 2 cups of heavy cream and the BBQ base. Blend well and let simmer for 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon and remove shrimp to a serving bowl. Wisk 2 tablespoons of butter into the sauce and pour sauce over shrimp. We like to serve with a green salad on the side and lots of crunchy french bread for dipping.
Emeril Lagasse's Essence -2 1/2 tablespoons paprika, 2 tablespoons salt, 2 tablespoons garlic powder, 1 tablespoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon dried oregano and 1 tablespoon dried thyme. I put this in an airtight container and keep it on hand.