Oscar Sunday Dinner

 Shrimp Creole

Felix Ungar:
I put order in this house. For the first time in months, you’re saving money. You’re sleeping on clean sheets. You’re eating hot meals for a change and I did it.

Oscar Madison:
Yes, you did. And after we’ve had your halibut steak and tartar sauce, I get to watch you Saran Wrap the leftovers.

Well it is a contest for today’s dinner menu, wrestling in my mind whether to go with an “American Hustler” style dinner that fits into my Italian Sunday Dinner category of make John Besh’s new take on shrimp Creole and garlicky baked oysters.


John Besh’s Shrimp Creole with “old school garlic bread”!

What a great Oscar night dinner…I really didn’t enjoy much of the show though, certainly not as much as our dinner.

Besh Garlicky Baked Oysters 3

John Besh has a nice twist on shrimp Creole as indicated with the addition of lemongrass, basil, mint, and my addition of a little Asian fish sauce, not much about a tablespoon or less if you are not sure.

“A longtime Louisiana favorite has Vietnamese influences; it’s spicy and sweet, full of herbs and flavor. Any ultra ripe tomatoes will work.” I was a little leery, but I have never been disappointed in any of John’s recipes and this one is a keeper. This recipe will serve 12-15, but I scaled it back for 4-6 servings.

John Besh’s Shrimp Creole

Makes 12 to 15 servings

5 pounds jumbo Louisiana or wild American shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh lemongrass
1/2 cup olive oil
3 medium onions, diced
10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 bell pepper, red, green or yellow, seeded and diced
5 pounds overripe Brandywine tomatoes or other heirloom tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
Again I had a mix of Kumato and Campari tomatoes and I didn’t bother peeling them
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
Leaves from 2 branches fresh basil, chopped
Leaves from 1 sprig fresh mint, chopped

6-8 cups cooked white rice or (TJ’s Rice Pilaf).

Put the shrimp into a large bowl, season with salt and pepper, then mix in lemongrass. Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over moderate heat. Add shrimp, stirring and tossing them with a spatula. Sauté until they turn pink, about 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.

In the same skillet, add remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, onions, garlic, celery and bell peppers. Cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes.

Add tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low and when sauce comes to a simmer add bay leaf, allspice, and red pepper flakes. Simmer 10 minutes.

Add shrimp back to the skillet along with basil and mint. Cook for a minute or two. Season with salt and pepper. If the sauce tastes too tart, add a little sugar to balance the flavor. Remove bay leaf. Serve over steamed white rice.