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Shrimp With Vegetables And Sweet-Heat Sauce

Although the best shrimp come in the spring and fall, Louisiana shrimp–which freeze better than any other seafood–allow us always to keep thinking about what might be done with those big ones. I’m not a big fan of shrimp as an entree, but even such as I find recipes that are hard to pass up. This one is the result of my actively trying to invent such a dish. I had two ideas in mind. First was the unexpected affinity between beans and seafood. The other is a love we have for sauces that are both spicy and sweet. What I came up with was a little Asian (although a Chinese cook would have stir-fried this and made it thicker) and a lot Creole.

MiPiace-ShrimpPasta-2

  • Stock:
  • 2 lbs. large shrimp (16-20 count), heads on
  • Leafy tops of a bunch of celery, chopped
  • Stems from a bunch of parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
  • Peel of 1/2 lemon (can used previously-squeezed lemons)
  • 1 large carrot (or two medium), peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch coins
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced lengthwise into four pieces, then into one-inch sticks
  • 1/2 lb. green beans, any kind
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. Tabasco soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. mild pepper jelly
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 sprigs parsley, leaves only, chopped

1. Peel the shrimp, saving all the shells and heads. Refrigerate the tails. Put the shells into a four-quart saucepan and fill with cold water. Dump the water and refill with about a half-gallon of water. Add the other stock ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then lower to the lowest setting and simmer for 40 minutes.

2. Strain the stock and discard all the solids. Put the stock back on low heat and allow to reduce while you work on everything else.

3. Put the carrot, celery and green beans into a steamer. Steam until the celery bends without snapping. (You may also boil the vegetables if you don’t have a steamer.) Immediately rise the vegetables in cold water until they are no longer warm to the touch. Set aside.

3. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper until the garlic is fragrant.

4. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Hold it there for a minute, then add about 3/4 cup of shrimp stock. Return to a boil, and reduce the pan contents by about a third.

5. Add the Worcestershire, lemon juice, soy sauce, pepper jelly and salt. Stir until the pepper jelly dissolves, then add the shrimp. Cook the shrimp, agitating or stirring the pan, until the shrimp are pink all over and firm.

6. Stir in the carrots, celery and green beans. Cook until they’re heated through but not soft. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.

7. Serve with or on pasta or rice, garnished with chopped fresh parsley.

Serves four entrees.

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