Recently I received a request for more seafood dishes. Hum, that was interesting since I’ve posted five recipes in the last month that revolved around seafood. I had thought it was becoming a bit much, yet here I am again, fishing through recipes of the past in search of a few seafood favorites worthy of a second look. At the same time, I was also organizing and re-categorizing my Yumprint cookbooks. Right now I’m in the “Chicken” main dish book. One of the recipes for Barbecued Chicken made me think of the whole “Barbecue” social event, which always conjures up an image of Scarlett O’Hara at Twelve Oaks. Mammy was one of my favorite characters. She was a woman who spoke her mind to the “white folks” whither they wanted to hear it or not. And she had a way of keeping Scarlett in her place as much as possible.
“If you don’t care what folks says about this family, I does! I has told you and told you that you can always tell a lady by the way she eats with folks. Like a bird. I ain’t aiming for you to go to Mr. Wilkes’ and eat like a field hand and gobble like a hog!”
When I was cooking these Creole Shrimp packages for the very first time, I wanted to find a side dish that had that same Creole influence. Much to my surprise, in 1939 a cookbook was offered to publicize the release of the classic film Gone with The Wind. Originally printed as a booklet that was offered with toothpaste, the premise of the book was that it contained a collection of Southern Recipes offered by the characters themselves, and not the people who portrayed them. One such recipe was Mammy’s Creole-Spiced Rice. It seemed perfect – a rice made with tiny shrimp and Creole seasonings. I was not disappointed – the rice paired beautifully with the main attraction – jumbo shrimp with a buttery creole dipping sauce. To add a little more color to the plate while providing a little relief from all those wonderful spices, I included some sweet, ripe cubes of mango. Everything was delicious.
Yep, this 2014 posting is worth a second look. Now I know for many of us, this is summer – and spicy foods should be reserved for cooler weather, when we long to warm our toes from the inside out. As Scarlett would say “Oh fiddle dee-dee”.
Creole-Spiced Shrimp Packets
2 pounds Jumbo Shrimp, preferably wild-caught
1 small onion, sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
2 teaspoons hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
Preheat oven to 325-degrees.
Peel and devein shrimp. Rinse and place into a large bowl. Add next nine ingredients (onion through black pepper). Toss to coat well. Let rest about 10 minutes.
Drain liquid from shrimp into a 1 cup measuring cup. Add enough water to create 1 cup of liquid.
Cut four large pieces of foil. Line a small bowl with foil to create a “pocket. Place 1/4 of the shrimp mixture into the foil.
Add 2 tablespoons butter and 1/4 cup liquid into pocket with shrimp. Fold and crimp/twist foil to seal.
Bake until shrimp are just opaque in center, about 30 minutes.
Carefully open shrimp packages. Use a slotted spoon to remove shrimp from packet and place on dinner plate. Pour sauce from packet into a small cup for dipping.
Mammy’s Creole-Spiced Rice
1 large onion, sliced
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 ½ tablespoon butter
¾ tablespoon flour
¾ tablespoon salt
¾ cup water
1 ½ cups tomatoes, diced (canned okay)
1 ½ cups black beans, cooked (canned okay)
½ tablespoon vinegar
¼ teaspoon sugar
1 ¼ cups tiny shrimp, cooked
1 ½ tablespoons Creole Seasoning
2 cups rice, cooked and still hot
Sauté onions and celery in butter until browned.
Stir in flour and salt, and then slowly add the water. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add tomatoes, beans, vinegar, sugar, shrimp and Creole Seasoning. Continue to cook 10 minutes longer.
Place hot, cooked rice in a large, deep serving platter or bowl. Pour Creole mix over hot rice. Toss lightly to blend and serve.
Note: Today we have the convenience of readily available canned ingredients from the grocery store aisle. If you have the time and wish to make this dish in its original form, use home-canned tomatoes in their juices and cook the black beans from scratch.
Just an interesting note: At the Twelve Oaks Barbecue, the Tarleton Twins (like most of the southern gentlemen in attendance) spent most of the barbecue buzzing about the lovely Miss Scarlett. Notice the twin on the right, if he seems oddly familiar it’s because that’s George Reeves, who went on to television fame in the 1950s as Superman.