Oh, I have missed y'all so! Been crazy shooting movies, nursing sick kids and dealing with end-of-school events. NUTS! But, through it all, I have managed to eat a decent meal or two. And now I want to share!
Nothing says "summer's coming" like a mess of shrimp! And nobody loved shrimp more than my Mamma. That little Cajun gal could whip through a pound of peelings faster than a nine year old chasing an ice cream truck in August. And, oh, the magic she could do then...etouffees, gumbos, bisques, or breaded and fried. In fact, my Mamma bought an extra, full-sized freezer just so she could fill every shelf with seafood.
When I was a kid, we spent our summers at our little camp in Clermont Harbor, Mississippi. (Think "ground zero" of Katrina. I HAD a little purple house there. Now I have a driveway with a beach view.) In fact, half of New Orleans would move over there for the summer and the dads would commute back to the city for work. Those were simple, golden days pulled straight from an episode of Andy Griffith.
At the end of the summer, while we packed up to head home. My Mamma would head to the Bayou Caddy pier where all the fishermen sold their bounty. She'd get the biggest ice chest she could fit in the huge trunk of our circa 1967 gas-guzzler, and fill it to the brim with shrimp and ice. We'd get back to New Orleans, and everyone, big and small, would prepare the shrimp for The Big Sleep in our Frigidaire Freezer. We'd pull off the heads, rinse them clean and cram as many shrimp as possible into every piece of Tupperware and used margarine tubs that we could fine. Finally, all the shelves would be filled and we'd be 'set' for a winter filled with gumbos and other goodies that Yankees only dream about!
So, last year when the BP oil spill threatened the Gulf, I ran out to every store within reach of my house and bought up as much shrimp as I could. There was no way of knowing what that disaster would do to the seafood population and I wasn't taking ANY chances. Like my Mamma taught me, I came home, took off the heads, washed the shrimp and filled every Tupperware and butter container I had with shrimp. Filled TWO freezers! My Mamma would be so proud! But now, I feel the need to use my hoarded shrimp and so, to wit, I created a dish that my Mamma never imagined!
PIMP MY SHRIMP
3 pounds of tiny salad style shrimp - peeled and washed
1 large white onion
2 roasted red peppers, julienne sliced
1 stick of butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
2 tbsp thyme
2 cups of cooked rice
1 cup steamed, chopped broccoli
1 can cream of shrimp soup, condensed
1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
This is one of those casseroles that's a whole meal - got every major food group covered. Well, except chocolate! Preheat your oven to 350. First, cook the rice and steam the broccoli and set those aside. Now, in a large, heavy pan, melt the butter and olive oil. Add the chopped onion and let it wilt. Add the red pepper and let that wilt. Now add the shrimp and some wine. Stir and let that simmer until the shrimp turn pink and start to smell good. Trust your nose! Now add the cream of shrimp soup and the thyme. Stir and let it start to bubble. Turn it off. Grease a 9 x 12 casserole dish. Now fill it half way up with rice. Cover the rice with steamed broccoli. Sprinkle with cheese. Now pour the shrimp mixture over it all. Cover the shrimp with more cheese. Now slide that in the oven and cook for 10 minutes or so until the whole thing is bubbly.
You can serve this with a green salad and crusty french bread. Pour some wine and you'll be eatin' like royalty!
Now, honestly, my Mamma just rolled in her grave at the thought of me coming anywhere NEAR some shrimp with a can of condensed soup. But, hey, in these fast times, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do! So, all you hard-core 'foodies' go ahead and make a shrimp stock, then a white cream sauce and marry the two, and let them reduce and reduce and reduce. I'll be busy eatin'. Sorry, Mamma.
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P.S. Please pray for our brave troops everywhere.