March 23, 2010
Upon my recent return from New Orleans, I gave you a killer family meal idea: a hummus platter dinner. A great tip for sure (has it become a go-to weeknight meal at your house, too?), but not exactly the Big Easy flavors you may have expected. I owe you. And it’s pay up time. Sort of.
New Orleans has a ton of great seafood and draws a lot of inspiration from traditional French cooking. This equates to (among other things) a lot of creamy seafood preparations like a favorite of mine, crawfish etouffee. Since I didn’t indulge in any such dishes this past visit, I decided to make one at home. Except I didn’t use cajun seasoning. The big kid is going through a “no spicy” phase, so I substituted Old Bay for my favorite Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning. Hm. I guess that means that this isn’t much of an homage to New Orleans after all. Oh well. It’s good. And it reminds me of my shrimp salad, a favorite lobster roll substitute inspired by the Old Bay brown butter I had at Momofuku Ko.
So have I settled the score? If not, substitute your preferred creole seasoning for Old Bay (modulate the amount for how much heat you want). And keep tuning in. I’ve got another trip to New Orleans coming up in June. I’ll get ya back then.
Old Bay Shrimp Pasta
(can be adapted for kids 10+ mos)*
1 lb organic pasta (I like linguine or fettuccine)
3 tbsp organic butter
2 cloves organic garlic, minced
1/3 c chopped organic celery
1 1/2 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
1 1/2 dozen medium shrimp, shelled & deveined*
1/4 c white wine (optional)
1 tbsp organic tomato paste
1/2 c organic chicken broth
1 1/2 c organic heavy cream
ground black pepper
chives or celery leaves (optional, for garnish)
1. Put a large pot of salted water on medium-high heat (about 6 qts water to 2 tbs salt). Bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, and set pasta aside.
2. In the meantime, melt butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and celery; saute until soft and fragrant. Add Old Bay and stir quickly to coat veggies, making sure not to burn the seasoning. Add shrimp and white wine, stir.
3. When wine has cooked off and shrimp are just opaque, add tomato paste. Cook for 1 minute, then add broth and cream. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring, to bring all of the flavors together.
4. Add pasta and toss to coat. Take off heat and finish with grated parmesan and pepper to taste. (Old Bay has salt added—I don’t add any additional.) Garnish and serve.
*Note: Food introduction guidelines are constantly changing. There is mounting evidence that even high allergen foods can be carefully introduced as early as 6-8 months so long as the child has no personal or family history of allergies. (Read here, here and here to learn more.) Shellfish is considered a high allergen food and the traditional recommendation is to hold off on introducing shellfish until 12+ mos or even 3+ years if the child has a history of food allergies. Speak to your pediatrician about what’s best for your child. And you can always substitute a firm flaky fish for shrimp in this recipe.