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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Cooking with Shrimp in the Kitchen

Updated: Oct 29, 2019

Shrimp is the most popular seafood. It is a seafood that freezes well, so you don’t have to have a fresh supply locally to eat quality shrimp. When I was growing up, my mother would buy a large amount of fresh shrimp and freeze them for later use.

One of the biggest questions when buying shrimp is how they are sized. In recipes, shrimp are either listed by their size, i.e. medium, large, or by their numerical size, 31-35. I will explain what those designations mean. Shrimp are sized by the number of shrimp it takes to make a pound. The smaller the number, the larger the shrimp are. Here is the breakdown on the most common sizing. Extra Colossal U-10 ( ten and fewer), Colossal 11-15, Extra Jumbo 16-20, Jumbo 21-25, Extra Large 26-30, Large 31-35, Medium Large 36-40, Medium 41-50, Small 51-60, Extra Small 61-70. When buying shrimp, this size refers to headless with the shell on. Peeled shrimp are often one size smaller. Often, you will see a recipe calling for peeled and deveined shrimp. This refers to the black line that runs along the back ridge of the shrimp. To remove this, take a small knife and shallowly slice along the back of the shrimp. Pull the vein out of the shrimp. Now for some recipes.

BBQ Shrimp is a misnomer. It is not cooked on a grill. It was created at Pascal’s Manale restaurant. A customer had come in to the restaurant and described a dish to the chef that he had eaten in Chicago. Although it was not a match to the Chicago dish, BBQ shrimp was a hit. It is one of the most copied dishes in New Orleans. Here is my take on it.

BBQ Shrimp

3 pounds 15-20 or larger Shrimp Heads & Tails on 1 1/2 pounds (6 sticks) Butter 1 1/2 cups Olive Oil 8 tablespoons Garlic, chopped 2 tablespoons dry Basil 4 teaspoons Salt 3 teaspoons Lemon Juice 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce 4 tablespoons ground Black Pepper 2 teaspoons dry Oregano 2 teaspoons dry Thyme 2 teaspoons BBQ Seasoning 1 tablespoon Creole Seasoning

Over medium heat, melt butter in olive oil in a large pot. Combine all other ingredients, except the shrimp. Add the shrimp and cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Serve in bowls with plenty of French bread to soak up the sauce.

This dish is named for my mother-in-law. It started out as Shrimp Alfredo but I wanted to add more flavor to it. I reached for a few fresh herbs and added them. The dish was such a hit, it seems like it was the only meal that she requested. So I named the dish after her. I hope you enjoy the dish as much as my mother-in-law did.

Shrimp Pasta Lorraine

2 pounds medium Shrimp, peeled and deveined 1/2 pound and 3 tablespoons Butter divided 2 tablespoons Creole Seasoning 1 tablespoon Garlic, chopped 2 cups Milk 2 Cups Heavy Cream 2 1/4 cups grated Parmesan Cheese 3 tablespoons Fresh Basil, chopped 3 tablespoons Fresh Oregano, chopped 2 tablespoons Fresh Parsley 8 ounces Cooked Spaghetti cooked al dente

Sprinkle shrimp with Creole seasoning and sauté over medium heat in 3 tablespoons butter until the shrimp start to turn pink 3-5 minutes. In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté garlic in 1/2 pound of butter for 3 minutes or golden brown. Add the milk and heavy cream. Heat until the edges start to bubble. Slowly add the Parmesan cheese and mix until well blended. Add the basil, oregano and parsley to the sauce. Cook for 10 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until shrimp are warm about 3 minutes. Serve over spaghetti.

Shrimp are a wonderful way to enjoy seafood. Just be careful not to overcook shrimp as they become rubbery.

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