Award-winning chef, author and recipe developer Virginia Willis has a new cookbook out that will revitalize your love of Southern cooking like never before. Grab a copy and prepare to bake, batter and biscuit (or baguette) your way to a more delicious dinner. These spicy Asian Cajun BBQ shrimp should do nicely, and cook up in no time flat.
Barbecue shrimp in New Orleans has nothing to do with a grill, a pit, or even barbecue sauce. Barbecue shrimp in New Orleans is a dish of butter-poached shrimp flavored with dried spices and herbs. It’s what happened to shrimp scampi as it traversed the Atlantic and crossed the levies of the mighty Mississippi. In the nineteenth century, trade routes opened between Sicily and New Orleans and thousands of Italians migrated to New Orleans. By 1870, New Orleans claimed the largest Italian-born population in the United States—even greater than the New York City area! A more recent immigration trend in the region has been the Vietnamese, leading to the introduction of new flavors into this Southern dish.
- 1 baguette, cut into thirds and halved lengthwise
- 1 1/2 pounds extra-large (16/20 count) shrimp
- 1 tablespoon Homemade Creole Seasoning, or to taste
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 jalapeno, or to taste, seeded and chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped lemongrass
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Homemade Creole Seasoning (makes about 1/2 cup)
- 2 tablespoons freshly ground white pepper
- 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon Coarse kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/3 teaspoon garlic powder
For the seasoning
Combine all the ingredients in a small airtight container or mason jar. Shake to combine. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months.
For the sandwich
Heat a grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Working with a few pieces at a time, cook the bread until browned and toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. (Alternatively, heat the oven to broil and broil the bread until toasted, about 2 minutes, depending on the strength of your broiler.) Set aside and keep warm.
Place the shrimp in a bowl. Add the Creole seasoning and toss to coat. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, jalapeño, ginger, and lemongrass. Cook until fragrant, 45 to 60 seconds. Add the shrimp and increase the heat to medium-high. Add the lemon juice, hot sauce, and fish sauce. Cook, turning once or twice, until the shrimp are firm and pink, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.
Spoon the shrimp and juices atop the grilled bread. Serve immediately, with lots of napkins!