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High schools, colleges and the pros are revving up for football season. I am making a list and checking it twice to be sure I have lots of things stashed in the freezer for tailgating or watching the games on television. You too should consider gathering a supply of appetizers and party food for your gatherings as well. offers everything from mini crawfish and shrimp pies, to stuffed mushrooms and stuffed jalapenos, which I call poppers – you know, they can be popped in the mouth AND they give you a good pop of flavor!

Another item that has caught my attention is Randol’s crabmeat stuffing, which I consider quite versatile since it can be used for stuffing everything from fillets of fish to large shrimp. Having the ready-made stuffing can save time and effort, but if you want to make stuffed shrimp from scratch, here is a recipe that you might want to try.

  • Makes 48
  • Stuffing:
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • ½ cup finely chopped bell pepper
  • 1 ½ pounds crabmeat
  • 2 pounds small shrimp, boiled and peeled
  • 4 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 8 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • To assemble:
  • 4 dozen large shrimp, peeled and butterflied
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • Oil for deep-frying

Make the stuffing by melting the butter in a large skillet. Saut̩ the onions, celery and bell pepper until transparent. Add the crabmeat, shrimp, green onions, parsley, salt and pepper and cook for two to three minutes, stirring to combine well. Remove from heat and add the eggs and breadcrumbs and mix well. Allow to cool. Place about a tablespoon of the stuffing in the split of the shrimp, molding the stuffing with your fingers. In a small bowl combine the eggs, milk and water and mix well. In another bowl, combine the corn meal, salt and cayenne. Roll the shrimp in the cornmeal, then dip in the egg mixture, then again in the cornmeal. Deep fry for 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm with tartar sauce Рyou might want to try our tartar sauce (Louisiana Tartar Sauce).


When September rolls around, I anxiously await the first cold front to blow through so I can dig into some freshly shucked oysters. There’s nothing better in my book, than icy cold oysters dabbed with cocktail sauce washed down with an equally cold brew! But, there are other things I like to do with our Louisiana oysters.


This is made in a small casserole pan but can be adapted to put in oyster shells or small ramekins.
  • Makes 4 Servings
  • 2 dozen raw oysters; shucked
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 4 chopped shallots
  • 1 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 8 artichoke hearts, mashed
  • Salt and cayenne to taste
  • 1/2 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Arrange the oysters in a single layer in a baking dish. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until they are just soft, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and cayenne.

Spoon the mixture over the oysters and top with mashed artichokes. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Bake at 375 degrees until the cheese melts completely, 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Makes 6 to 8 servings
  • 1 stick (8 ounces) butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups chopped onions
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 2 cups chopped and drained artichoke hearts or bottoms (packed in water)
  • 6 ounces heavy cream
  • 1 pint (or more freshly shucked oysters), drained (or if you like, add the liquor as well)
  • Salt, pepper and Tabasco to taste

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and add the flour. Whisk for three to four minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until just clear, about 5 minutes. Slowly add the stock, whisking, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the artichokes. Add the cream and simmer for about five minutes. Add the oysters and simmer until the edges curl, three to four minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Tabasco. Serve hot.


Makes about 8 servings
If and when the ducks hunters come in with their limit, make this gumbo, freeze and pull it out for a dinner during the holidays.
  • 2 mallards, cleaned and cut into serving pieces
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cups chopped bell peppers
  • 6 to 8 cups water or chicken stock
  • 1 pound andouille, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 dozen oysters, shucked, with their liquor
  • 3 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

Season the ducks pieces with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the cayenne. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large, heavy pot (preferably black iron) over medium heat. Add the duck pieces and brown, stirring often. Remove the duck and set aside.

To the same pot add the remaining 1 cup vegetable oil and the flour. Stirring constantly for 20 to 25 minutes, make a dark brown roux. Add the onions and bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until they are soft.

Add the water or stock (the amount will depend on how thick or thin you like your gumbo). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the duck pieces and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 1 1/2 hours.

Add the andouille and simmer for 30 minutes. Skim off any fat that rises to the surface. Add the oysters and their liquid and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the edges of the oysters curl. Remove from the heat. Add the parsley and serve immediately over steamed rice in gumbo bowls.

July/August 2012


Think cool, eat cool and be cool! There is no reason to let the hot, hot, hot days of summer get in the way of enjoying the languid days of summer. When the heat seems almost unbearable I stock up on lemons, lime a cucumbers. A squeeze or two of citrus juice in my tea, lemonade, cola, or gin and tonic seems to cool me off. A salad of thinly sliced cucumbers and onions tossed with mayonnaise and yogurt is a favorite dish as is chilled cucumber soup.

My potted herbs, especially mint and basil, will brighten up vegetables and salads. Lemon thyme and rosemary will be delightful to season fish and pork.

Come with me then, and sit in my kitchen cooled by the ceiling fan and we’ll whip up some cool things to enjoy after the sun goes down.

Tomato-cucumber salad
  • Makes about 8 servings
  • 1 head Boston lettuce
  • 4 medium-size tomatoes cut into wedges
  • 1 medium-size cucumber, scored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small purple onion, sliced and separated into rings
  • Yogurt-herb dressing (recipe follows)

Line salad plates with lettuce leaves and arrange the tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions on top. Drizzle with the dressing.

Yogurt-herb dressing
  • Makes about 1 cup
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dillweed
  • 1 teaspoon snipped fresh chives
  • Salt and white pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a jar and shake to mix. Chill for about one hour before using.
Cool cucumber soup
  • Makes about 4 servings
  • 6 medium-size cucumbers, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions (green part only)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 1/4 cups plain yogurt
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves

Puree the cucumbers in a food processor or blender. Add the green onions and garlic and process again until smooth. Add the yogurt and process until the mixture is smooth. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with the mint leaves.

Once the sun goes down and the cool of the evening sets in, bring out the grill. If I’m lucky, there might be a few fillets of speckled trout or redfish hanging around the freezer. Those fillets are ideal for slapping on the grill to make a great summer sandwich. Ice down some beer or chill a cold crisp white wine and you can have a refreshing supper in no time.

  • Makes 4 sandwiches
  • 4 fillets of fish, each about three-fourths inch thick, about one and one-half pounds
  • Lemon-soy marinade (recipe follows)
  • 4 toasted whole wheat buns, or bread of your choice
  • Mayonnaise or tartar sauce for serving
  • Lettuce and tomato slices

Place the fish in the marinade, cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Remove the fish from the marinade and arrange in a fish basket or place directly on a grill over a medium-hot fire. Cover and grill the fillets until they flake easily with a fork, about 8 minutes on each, side, brushing with the marinade two to three times. Spread the buns with mayonnaise or tartar sauce, arrange the lettuce and tomato slices and top with the grilled fish.

Lemon-soy marinade
  • Makes about 2/3 cup
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Combine the lemon juice, soy, pepper and hot sauce in a food processor or electric blender. Process for 15 seconds. Gradually add the olive oil with the motor running.

Here’s another idea for a quick cool meal. Whenever my husband fires up the grill, we cook a little extra. For instance, boneless skinless chicken breasts or a couple of pork tenderloins marinated with fresh lemon juice and fresh herbs can be stored in the refrigerator after they come off the grill. During the week, both can be thinly sliced to put on sandwiches. Or, serve them at room temperature with grilled fresh vegetables. You can use more or less the same idea for the pork tenders as the chicken. Sometimes I use fresh sprigs of rosemary for the pork, or even lemon thyme.

Lemon chicken
  • Makes 6 servings
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or lemon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

Put the chicken in a large shallow glass dish. Combine the melted butter with the mustard, lemon juice, tarragon, salt, black pepper and hot sauce. Mix well and pour over the chicken. Grill or bake in the oven.

During the summer I try to keep a couple of cool spreads or dips in the ‘fridge – they are ideal for putting on sandwiches or for dipping boiled or fried seafood.

  • Makes about 1 1/2 cups
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil or olive oil (or a combination of both)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Put the egg yolks, salt, pepper and vinegar or lemon juice, mustard if using, and hot sauce in a food processor or electric blender. Process for about 30 seconds. With the motor running, stream in the oil through the feed tube until the mixture thickens.

In a small bowl, mash the garlic with the salt to make a paste. Add to the mayonnaise mixture and pulse two to three times to blend. Season with the black pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk well. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

  • 1 cup mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
  • 1 large pod garlic, mashed
  • 1 large sweet pickle, minced
  • 5 drops of Tabasco sauce
  • 3 good shots of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated onion

Mix all the ingredients together and chill for about one hour before serving.

  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh dill
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 to 3 dashes of hot sauce

Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk to mix. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Also to keep you cool, I offer these cooling ideas.
  • Makes about 1 quart
  • 2 pints fresh blueberries, rinsed well and picked over
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • zest from 1 lemon removed in long strips
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt

In a medium saucepan, combine the blueberries, sugar, water and zest. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the berries start to fall apart and the syrup thickens, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and discard the lemon zest. Carefully transfer in batches to a food processor or blender and puree on high speed. Pass through a fine strainer into a large bowl, pressing against the solids with the back of spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Whisk in the remaining ingredients, cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours.

Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a plastic container and freeze until firm and ready to serve.

  • Makes about 1 quart (serves 6)
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 egg yolks
  • Cinnamon sticks for garnish

Heat the cream, milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot. Remove from the heat.

Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl. Slowly add one cup of the cream mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly until smooth. Slowly pour the egg mixture back into the cream mixture, whisking constantly. Place the saucepan back over medium heat. Stirring constantly, cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the mixture thickens. Do not boil. Pour through a fine strainer into a bowl. Chill to form a custard.

Pour the custard into the canister of an ice cream freezer and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. To serve, place a cinnamon stick in the top of each serving.

  • Makes about 1 quart (6 servings)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee powder
  • 1 cup brewed espresso
  • 3 tablespoons creme de cacao
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Beat the egg yolks, sugar and brown sugar in a bowl until blended. Heat the cream in a saucepan until almost boiling. Pour the cream in a stream into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat to make a light custard, about five to seven minutes. Do not boil. Remove from heat.

Dissolve the instant coffee in the espresso. Stir in the creme de cacao, vanilla and cinnamon and whisk into the custard. Refrigerate covered until cold. Freeze in an ice cream freezer according to manufacturer’s directions.

May/June 2012

Although summer will not officially arrive until June, the pleasantly warm weather is ideal for outdoor dining. Crawfish, Louisiana’s freshwater crustaceans, are in season and plentiful. The bays along coastal Louisiana, as well as the Gulf of Mexico, are teeming with shrimp, crabs, speckled trout, redfish and flounder.
It’s time for fish-fries, seafood boils and other casual, kick-back, leisurely meals.
Let’s begin with crabs. Lump crabmeat is not always necessary to the dish. The jumbo lump or the regular lump, both the most expensive, is what I want when preparing a luxurious salad or when it’s going to be the focal point of the meal. Flake or special white crabmeat is ideal for making crab cakes or to extend lump crabmeat in a recipe. The claw meat, the least expensive, is stringy and usually darkish, but it’s quite flavorful and is ideal for making casseroles and dressings.
If you’re going to splurge on the white, delicate lump crabmeat, by all means prepare this delectable dish that can be served as an appetizer or a main course.

Serves 6 main courses or 12 appetizer servings
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • Dash of celery salt
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
  • 6 strips bacon, crisply fried

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, chili sauce, dry mustard, lemon juice, paprika, Tabasco, and celery salt. Mix well.
Divide the crabmeat evenly into six large ramekins (or twelve small ones). Spoon the sauce generously over the crabmeat and top with the bacon.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until the sauce bubbles. If you want to brown the tops, put them under the broiler for one to two minutes.
You can use any type of crabmeat for this dish – mix and match if you like.

Makes 4 servings
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and cayenne to taste
  • 1/2 pound regular lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
  • 1/2 pound claw meat
  • 1/4 cup dried fine bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Sauté the green onions, celery, and bell peppers in the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Blend in the flour. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick and creamy.
Add the lemon juice and season with salt and cayenne. Gently stir in the crabmeat. Spoon the mixture into a lightly greased baking dish. Top with the bread crumbs and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly and lightly brown on top. If shrimp tickle your taste buds, then by all means boil ‘em up and serve them with tartar sauce, remoulade sauce or whatever sauce makes you happy.

Makes about 4 servings
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 large lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 large yellow onion, quartered
  • 1/4 cup cayenne
  • 1 cup salt
  • 3 pounds shrimp, heads and shells on

Combine the water, lemon, onion, cayenne and salt in a large, heavy pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the shrimp, bring back to a boil, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and serve hot.

  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk well. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
You can use just about any kind of fish for fish-fries. Fresh-water catfish or your favorite salt-water fish will do.

Makes about 4 servings
  • 1 pound fish fillets, cut into 1×3-inch strips
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 2 cups corn flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 large yellow onionS, peeled and thinly sliced

Season the fish with the salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Place the strips in a bowl with the milk, mustard, lemon juice, and Tabasco. Cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours. Heat about 3 to 4 inches oil in a large, deep pot or electric fryer to 360 degrees.
Put the corn flour and cornstarch into a brown paper bag. Remove the fish from the marinade, a few pieces at a time, allowing the marinade to drip off. Put the strips in the bag and shake well to coat evenly. Drop the catfish into the hot oil and fry, turning the pieces once or twice, until they pop to the surface and are golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Arrange several slices of the onion over the fried fish and cover with a layer of paper towels. Repeat the process until all the fish is cooked.
You simply must have tartar sauce in which to dip the fried fish.

Makes about 2 cups
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 pods garlic, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced onions

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Cover and chill for 2 hours before serving.
For dessert, a tart lemon pie – a perfect ending to any seafood meal.

Makes one pie, to serve 6
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1 1/4 cups boiling water
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1 pre-baked 9-inch pie shell
  • 1 (7-ounce) jar marshmallow creme

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the sugar, cornstarch and a pinch salt in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Gradually add the water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook for one minute, or until the mixture is clear and thickened. Stir a small amount of the hot mixture into beaten egg yolks, then return this mixture to the hot mixture. Cook for about three minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, then add the lemon juice, butter and lemon rind. Pour the mixture into the pie shell.
Beat the egg whites and a pinch salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add the marshmallow cream beating until stiff peaks form. Spread over the filling, sealing to the edge of the crust.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the meringue is lightly browned. Watch carefully. Remove and cool before serving.

March/April 2012

The season of Lent has arrived. And I’m betting that there are many who partied much too hard during the Carnival season who welcome the season of repentance, prayer and sacrifice with open arms. Well, maybe not open arms, but at least might relish the thought of six weeks of Lent as a time to have a spiritual renewal of the soul, not to mention some recuperation of the body.

In the not too distant past, meals during Lent were not only meatless, they were simple, albeit nourishing, and because there were certain days of fasting, when snacks between meals were forbidden.
Most of the meals prepared during Lent in New Orleans were referred to as Lenten soups or in French, potage maigres. And these soups were simple broths or consommés, flavored with carrots, onions, turnips, beans or peas, cabbage, and parsley. Sometimes a handful of spinach or a potato or two might be added as well.
In rural areas of south Louisiana, the locals made a stew of potatoes and eggs. A roux was made, then water was added along with cubed potatoes. The mixture was seasoned with the usual salt and cayenne, and sometimes eggs were poached in the liquid, or finely chopped hard-boiled eggs were added to give the meager stew some texture.
Of course in the city and in the country there were meals consisting of different types of seafood. Perhaps there was a courtbouillon or bouillabaisse, or a shrimp stew, fried fish, crab soup, and now and then, a crawfish etouffée. I can attest to the fact that I ate, as a child, my fair share of tuna salad sandwiches, butter and sugar sandwiches, fried egg sandwiches grilled cheese sandwiches, and a whole lot of fish sticks accompanied by macaroni and cheese.
Of course these days, they’re a great variety of vegetarian dishes that have come into vogue that are not only delicious, but also nutritious. With all of that said, I usually try to make Lenten dishes a challenge. There is such a wealth of fresh vegetables available year-round in the supermarkets and at local farmers’ markets, no one should be hard pressed to be a bit creative. And of course, we here in south Louisiana have a great wealth of local seafood—shrimp, crabmeat, crawfish, oysters, and fish—to choose from.

So here then are some recipes that might give you some inspiration for your Lenten meals.

Makes 4 servings

  • 6 pounds large shrimp, heads on (don’t peel them)
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco® (or more, according to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon oregano leaves
  • Rinse the shrimp in cool water and drain. Spread the shrimp in a large shallow baking pan. In a saucepan, melt butter, then add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Pour sauce over shrimp and marinate for one hour. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir a couple of times with a spatula. Do not overcook. Serve in a soup bowl with lots of hot French bread to sop up the sauce. Be sure to have some trays around on which to put shells and such. Be forewarned – this can only be eaten with your hands and I would advise you not to wear your best outfit since it can get rather messy. I sometimes have plastic bibs for guests or, if nothing else, large napkins to tuck in the collar.

    Makes 8 servings

    • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 medium-size onions, chopped
    • 1 medium-size green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
    • 2 celery ribs, chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
    • 2 cups diced canned tomatoes
    • 1 can Ro-tel tomatoes (tomatoes packed with peppers—use the mild version)
    • 1 quart warm fish stock or water
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 2½ pounds fish (such as redfish, speckled trout or any white-fleshed firm fish) cut into 2-inch chunks.
    • 1 bunch green onions (green part only), chopped
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
    • Combine the flour and oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Stirring slowly and constantly make a roux the color of chocolate. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and Ro-Tel and stir to blend. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the oil forms a thin layer, like paper, over the top of the mixture, about 30 minutes.
      Add the fish stock or water, the salt and cayenne and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. The mixture should be slightly thick. (If the mixture becomes too thick, add more stock or water.) Add the fish, cover and cook (do not stir) until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 10 to 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning if necessary with salt and cayenne.
      Add the green onions and parsley, and serve immediately in soup bowls with steamed rice and pass plenty of hot French bread at the table. (Note: I always have a bottle of hot sauce at the table in case guests want to add a little bit of “heat.”)
      Shrimp Creole is a dish that I love, but I’ve eaten some really nasty ones through the years. This is a recipe I’ve worked on for a few years and I think you’ll like this version.

      Makes 4 to 6 servings

      • 4 tablespoons butter
      • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
      • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
      • 1 cup chopped bell peppers
      • 3/4 cup chopped celery
      • 3 garlic cloves, minced
      • 2 bay leaves
      • 2 cups peeled, chopped fresh tomatoes or 2 cups canned, chopped with their juice
      • 1 cup shrimp stock or chicken broth
      • 1 teaspoon salt
      • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
      • 2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
      • 2 teaspoons chopped parsley
      • Combine the butter and the flour in a medium heavy pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring, to make a blond roux, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft and lightly golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
        Add the bay leaves, tomatoes, shrimp stock, salt, and cayenne. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the shrimp and cook until they turn pink, 3 to 4 minutes.
        Remove the bay leaves. Add the parsley and serve over rice.
        And for you crabmeat lovers, here is a simple casserole that can be put together quickly and shoved in the oven to bake while you have a cold beer or a glass of wine.