“Food Is Symbolic of Love When Words Are Inadequate”

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:

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. 



About Alan G Billingsley

My career has been varied, including time as a newspaper deliverer, lifeguard, bubble gum maker, door-to-door detergent promoter, telephone book proofreader, short order cook, private employment agency counselor and owner, office and credit manger, infantryman, pots and pans salesman, Chinese restaurant cook, Chinese restaurant owner, public employment counselor, budget analyst, tax analyst, grant administrator, radio announcer, radio and television show host, disk jockey, automobile valet, child advocate, and now retiree. I've seldom been bored.
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