New Orleans is one of my top 2 favorite food cities of all time (if you’re wondering, Boston is the other). Not a unique choice, I realize, but I have family down there and have spent some time in the city–plus, let’s face it popular foodie destinations are usually popular for a reason. And the best part is that you have an amazing food experience for an entire range of dollars, which is always a good thing.
The odd thing is, I loved it when I did not love seafood (same with Boston, ironically–guess I need to get back there too). Now that I have learned to love seafood, I am itching to go back and try all the dishes I skipped over. In the meantime, I am going to have to be satisfied with trying to make my own Cajun and Creole creations from various cookbooks… and if they all turn out as wonderfully as Susan Spicer’s Shrimp Clemenceau I will be in heaven!
Shrimp Clemenceau combines several of my favorite ingredients–but I confess in ways I would not have previously thought to. Potatoes and peas, sure, but for some reason I would never have put mushrooms with them, let alone mushrooms and shrimp. But oh my does it work. We ate so much of this dish that we did not have enough for leftovers. For once the kids ate all of the main ingredients, instead of eating only the mushrooms, or only the shrimp, etc. The sauce is delectably tangy and rich, and it coats the dish without weighing it down or making it soggy.
I will be making this again.
2 cups diced potatoes–I did not peel, blanched until just barely tender
3 T olive oil (or more, see directions)
5 T butter
1 lb button or baby portabella mushrooms (I used the latter), cleaned and cut into quarters or sixths, depending on size
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails still attached (or use crayfish tails, about which I know nothing so my instructions are for shrimp)
2 cups peas, frozen are fine
salt and pepper to taste
hot sauce (I used Tabasco)
1-3 medium shallots, finely diced (to taste, I increased the shallot as we like a lot of onion)
1 1/4 cups white wine
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
3 scallions, finely chopped
This dish is very easy–the only thing making it at all difficult is that each ingredients needs to be cooked separately, allowing it to brown and crisp up, rather than all steam together. So do allow time for that.
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Have ready a large, oven-safe bowl.
Pat the potatoes dry. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and heat until shimmering, at which point add 2 tablespoons of butter and the potatoes. Salt to taste–remember that they will be flavored with more than just the salt so you need less. Cook until the potatoes are evenly browned and crispy–I find it hard to get them perfectly crispy on a residential stove without frying in a lot of oil, so just do your best. Transfer them to the bowl and place in the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 275 F.
Return the skillet to the heat–no need to clean–and reheat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the mushrooms (do this in 2 batches if necessary, in which case use more oil). Sprinkle with salt. Cook until crispy and cooked through. Add to the potatoes. Once again, return the skillet to the heat but do not clean.
Add the shrimp, with a drizzle more oil if necessary–once again in batches if necessary. Cook until barely cooked though–you do not want them to dry out in the oven! Toss with the potatoes and mushrooms and then toss in the peas and return the bowl to the oven, but turn the oven off.
Deglaze the pan with the shallots and the wine, adding a pinch of salt. Bring the wine to a boil and cook until reduced to a glaze, about 4-6 tablespoons of liquid. Scrape the bottom of the pan to bring up any bits. Add the garlic with a dash of hot sauce and salt and pepper to taste and then turn the heat to very low. Whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Pour over the potato mixture in the bowl and toss to combine. Taste for salt and pepper–or additional lemon juice or hot sauce. Serve immediately.