• Tommy Centola

Preparing the versatile shrimp

After a few non-seafood columns, I thought I would feature a couple of recipes featuring the most popular seafood in America, Shrimp. This versatile seafood can be cooked numerous ways with a large variety of sauces. In New Orleans, we have found many different ways to prepare this darling of the Gulf.

Shrimp are readily available throughout the states. If you were lucky to live by the Gulf Coast, you can buy shrimp hours after they were caught. The good news is that you can get good quality frozen shrimp locally. Just make sure that you buy Wild Caught Gulf Shrimp. If not, you are probably buying farm raised shrimp from Southeast Asia or Central America.

Today, I want to share with you two recipes from my first cookbook, You Can’t Keep New Orleans Out Of The Cook. These recipes are Shrimp Rehoboth and Shrimp Fra Diavolo. The first recipe is served as an appetizer. The second is a pasta. Both of these dishes have a little bit of spice to them, which you can adjust according to your taste.

This is a dish that I have played around with for about 15 years. Now I have finally stopped. I found that the ingredient I was looking for is Sriracha. Just two drops of the hot chili sauce makes the dish. As far as the name of the dish, Rehoboth is the street I live on.

24 raw medium shrimp, peeled

1 tablespoon butter

2 teaspoons Creole seasoning

8 julienne strips green bell pepper

8 julienne strips red bell pepper

8 julienne strips red onion

Sweet Red Dressing (recipe below)

Sweet Red Dressing

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon onion salt

1/2 cup ketchup

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 drops of Sriracha sauce

Combine all ingredients.


Marinate vegetables in ½ cup of the sweet red dressing. Over medium heat, melt butter in a large sauté pan. Sprinkle Creole seasoning over the shrimp and toss to coat. Add the shrimp and vegetables to the pan and sauté until the shrimp are almost done, about 4 minutes. Add the rest of the red dressing and cook until the sauce is warm and coating the shrimp and vegetables.

Fra Diavolo is Italian for Brother Devil. This is a dish that you are not likely to find in Italy. It is an Italian-American creation. You can control the heat of this dish by adjusting the amount of Red Pepper Flakes you use.

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 teaspoon Creole seasoning

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, minced

1 14 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes in tomato puree

1 cup dry white wine

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves, chopped

3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

8 ounces linguini, cooked al denté

In a large bowl, toss shrimp with Creole seasoning and red pepper flakes. In a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shrimp and sauté until just cooked through, about two minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a large plate and set aside. Add the onion to the same skillet and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices, wine, garlic, and oregano, and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Return the shrimp and any accumulated juices to the tomato mixture and toss to coat. Remove from heat and stir in the parsley and basil. Serve over Linguini.


Here’s another piece of advice when cooking shrimp, don’t cook them too long. They will become rubbery. They only take a few minutes to cook. They will start to turn to space white with some pink and bright red accents.

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