When the Honey and I were first dating, we went to New Orleans for a long holiday weekend, setting out to eat our way through the city, and experience all of the cultural and culinary offerings of the Big Easy. One of the restaurants we stumbled upon along our food adventure was Mr. B’s Bistro, a Creole restaurant in the heart of the French Quarter, where we experienced some truly incredible barbecued shrimp. We were in our finest – complete with bibs – digging in to a mountain of head-on, tail-on, wispy-antennae-on jumbo shrimp swimming in a spicy, flavorful, intoxicating sauce, and it remains one of our favorite food memories.
“Barbecue” is somewhat of a misnomer here. In Louisiana, the term refers to a seasoned Worcestershire-lemon-butter sauce, and is actually prepared stove-top, in a skillet. We may not have quite the same legendary ambiance at home (we’re only lacking the dark wood-paneling, the twinkle of crystal sconces, and white-tuxedo-ed waiters), but my adaptation of the recipe – simple enough for a quick weeknight dinner – still brings us back to that warm spring night in the middle of the Crescent City.
- 1 lb (about 20) large to jumbo shrimp, tails on
- 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, about 2 lemons
- 1 tsp hot sauce, such as Tabasco
- 1 tsp fresh garlic, minced
- 1 tsp creole seasoning, such as Tony Chachere’s
- 1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
- 10 tbsp (1-1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, bring the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, hot sauce, garlic, creole seasoning and pepper to a simmer. Add the shrimp, cooking 1-2 minutes per side until pink and firm.
- Remove the skillet from the burner and add the cubes of butter, a bit at a time, stirring quickly until the butter is fully emulsified into the sauce. Divide the shrimp and sauce among two bowls and serve immediately with French or Sourdough bread.