Author Alan Wolfelts quote above helps to describe the moment you taste something so delicious, that words don’t come easily. What follows is a tale about two recipes; one I have never cooked, and one I have cooked many times. The one I have cooked many times and know is consistantly delicious is the one I will share at the end of this post, but first…
My favorite restaurant in New Orleans is Bayona in the French Quarter. For over twenty years, chef and co-owner Susan Spicer has been serving delicious food that I look forward to enjoying whenever I am in that fabulous city. So when I was invited out for a New Orleans’ style dinner and asked to bring an appetizer, I wanted one that would hopefully compliment the chef’s main dish and found a recipe for one of Bayona’s signiature appetizers, “Goat Cheese Croutons with Wild Mushrooms in Madeira Cream” which I will try to replicate for the invitees. If it turns out well I recommend it in a future blog when food is the theme.
I have however, enthusiastically made many times another recipe from the nearby New Orleans area. It was included in the wonderful 1995 book, “Charles Kuralt’s America”, where the author spent a month in each of his twelve favorite American cities. The recipe is “Scampi La Riviera” named after a restaurant in Metairie, LA. It is the best scampi dish I have ever tasted, bar none. The recipe as written by Charles Kuralt is as follows:
SCAMPI LA RIVIERA
2 lbs. large shrimp 1/2 cup butter
6 cloves garlic, chopped 1/2 cup red vinegar
2 Tablespoons olive oil 8 mint leaves
1/4 cup parsley, chopped 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon paprika pinch of oregano
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Shell the shrimp, leaving only the tail shell. De-vein and rinse the shrimp and place them in a large cast-iron skillet atop a thin layer of olive oil. Season them with salt and sprinkle them with paprika. Bake in the over for 7 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the oven and add lemon juice, chopped mint, garlic, vinegar, and parsley. Sprinkle on a little more olive oil.
Place the skillet on a medium flame.
Add a bit of water and the butter and oregano. Cover the skillet and cook for 2 minutes, or until the flavor is concentrated and the sauce is smooth and thick enough to coat a spoon.
Top with parsley and serve.
I have ordered scampi over the years numerous times, but after trying this, nothing since has ever compared to this Louisiana gem.