Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cookbook Cooking (New Orleans Cajun Barbecue Shrimp)

Everyone has their own style of cooking and everyone cooks with their own unique flare. Mine I would say would be using few and simple ingredients, and going more for the Italian pasta dishes. Even though ironically, I am far from Italian. But hey, who's the boss to say dark haired Italians with sexy accents are the only ones who are best with pastas? Well besides all that, I recently have decided to go out of my "comfort box" and cook something with more ingredients, more spices, and hmm..more Cajun. I feel it is now time to expand my culinary horizon. (Or is it just the fact that my grandmother gave me a French Louisianan styled cook book for Christmas that I so desperately have been wanting to try.) Either way, this recipe is totally different than my previous recipes, because it is filled with lots and lots of dried herbs, spices, and whatever else that makes this dish flared up and Cajun!

My handy dandy cooking partner, Blake, was by my side every step of the way while creating this uniquely baked dish. Many firsts came out of this dish; it was my first time to shop at the FIESTA food market (or should I call it the little Mexican market?) and this market was so exciting to both Blake and me, for our eyes were in awe at all the brightly colored rows and rows of peppers, and the miniature bananas and cacti! Also, this was a first that I have ever baked shrimp in an oven, "DE-pooped" the shrimp (as Blake calls it, ha!), and the first to make a Cajun dinner. These shrimp were so good, juicy, and filled with lots and lots and lots of flavor! The shrimp may appear small, but the flavors triumph the entire meal, almost making you step back for a moment and soak in all the goodness from these "barbecued" shrimp. Oh, and about the name, I have no idea why my cookbook has decided to call this recipe barbecue shrimp, because 1. I did not use any type of barbecue anything in this recipe, 2. the shrimp taste nothing like barbecue and 3. my cookbook even said that it isn't barbecued shrimp, and only named that... so why are we being tricked? Well, I am here to warn you that if you are looking for the ultimate barbecued shrimp recipe, you might be disappointed. However, if you are looking for a real and authentic Cajun shrimp recipe, you are in for a real treat!

.5 cup unsalted butter
.5 cup olive oil
1 white onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 large clove garlic, minced
sea salt and ground black pepper
cayenne pepper
2 pounds extra-large shrimp (uncooked and headless)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the onion, rosemary, and oregano and cook until the onion is translucent but not browned, about eight minutes. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic is softened, about two minutes longer. Remover from the heat and season well with salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Rise the shrimp and arrange them in a shallow baking dish. Pour the warm sauce evenly over the top. Bake uncovered, stirring every ten minute, until the shrimp are opaque throughout and the flavors have melded, about thirty minutes. Serve and enjoy! (Serves great with garlic buttered french bread, and this served for me, Blake, my parents, and my second sister Kylie!... so should serve from 4 to 6 people)

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