By George Graham, of Acadiana Table:
As the Louisiana shrimp season kicks into high gear, I’m craving all things shrimp. Sometimes I feel like a character in the movie Forrest Gump as I reel off my favorite Cajun recipes: shrimp gumbo, shrimp Creole, shrimp jambalaya, fried shrimp, stuffed shrimp, oh well, you get it.
My wife Roxanne loves shrimp as much as I do, but her culinary instincts have a purity of purpose that shines a light on how delicious our Gulf shrimp genuinely are. Her tastes are showcased in this delightfully simple preparation keying on Mediterranean flavors. This Garlic Shrimp Crostini appetizer brings out the sweet flavor of shrimp with an easy recipe featuring fresh herbs, pungent spices, extra-virgin olive oil, and a splash of white wine. You’ll love how the toasted crostini bread rounds soak up the sauce for an extra jolt of flavor.
But the essential ingredient in this Garlic Shrimp Crostini dish is finding the highest quality Louisiana shrimp available, and for that, I go to the source: Louisiana Direct Seafood. If you live in South Louisiana, chances are you live close to a fishing family and a direct link to the Gulf of Mexico’s bounty. As an online portal for discovering all the seafood available to home cooks, the free Louisiana Direct Seafood website is a searchable clearinghouse of up-to-date information for finding the freshest catch. As fishermen bring their seafood haul to port, this website lets you know how, when, and where to find it. And sometimes the freshest seafood can be frozen. Let me explain.
Louisiana Direct Seafood has pioneered a process called Louisiana Limited Wild Plate Frozen Shrimp, which is an ultra-premium product where shrimp are caught, sorted, graded, packaged in boxes, and held on a contact plate freezer at minus 30ºF. This method is done either on the boat when caught or at the dock for day boats that bring their catch in daily. Thawed under cold water, these shrimp appear as if they just came out of the net with heads and even antenna intact.
Rox and Lo joined me in the Acadiana Table kitchen to show you how easy this recipe is, and to find out more about plate-frozen shrimp, we went straight to the source. Check it out in our short video, above.
In taste and texture, these shrimp are pristine and as close to Gulf waters as possible. So, where can you find plate-frozen shrimp? There are several suppliers along the Louisiana coast: David Chauvin’s Bluewater Shrimp in Dulac, Corina Corina Seafood in Galliano, Faith Family Shrimp Co. in Chauvin, and Anna Marie Shrimp in Montegut. And recently, retailer Josh Boudreaux of Southern Seafood based on Hwy 90 between New Iberia and Broussard, LA, has begun carrying the boxes of plate-frozen shrimp. Give any of these vendors a call to place your order.
And for wholesale buyers (restaurants and retailers), there are more suppliers listed on the Wholesale Seafood page of the Louisiana Direct Seafood website. The page posts product details and contact information for processors and fishermen that sell to the wholesale market. It’s easy. With one click, buyers can connect with Louisiana seafood sources along the coast and determine product availability, minimum quantities, and price.
Finding fishermen and local retailers selling their catch is easy, and after one quick phone call, you’re just a drive away from the tastiest Gulf seafood available.
Back in your home kitchen with a supply of Gulf shrimp, peeling and deveining your shrimp is easy. And the ingredient list, items you probably already have in your pantry, will make a sauce that you’ll want to soak up. But instead of mopping the plate with hunks of French bread, I’m cutting to the chase with crostini, sliced toasted baguette rounds, underscoring each shrimp. While the bread supports the shrimp presentation, it slowly absorbs the sauce for a complete experience in one bite. Oh yeah, I love this Garlic Shrimp Crostini starter for sure. And when you try this tasty recipe, you’ll be inspired to bring it out as a new classic at your next dinner party.
- 12 baguette slices (about ½” thick)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- ½ cup chopped leeks
- 1 thinly sliced lemon, seeds removed
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 dozen extra jumbo (16/20 count) shrimp, peeled, tail-on, and deveined
- 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- Dash of hot sauce, optional
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment and add the baguette slices. Lightly brush with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake until toasted on both sides, about 8 minutes. Keep warm for serving.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the remaining olive oil and butter. Once the butter melts, add the leeks and lemon slices. Cook until the leeks are tender, and the edge of the lemon slices begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and add the rosemary, parsley, and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes and add the wine, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir the skillet and cook off the alcohol and reduce by half, 3 to 5 minutes. While stirring, add Cajun seasoning, white pepper, Italian seasoning, and black pepper.
- You can hold this recipe at this point until your guests are ready to eat. Bring the mixture back to a simmer, and add the shrimp. Cook on both sides until pink and done. Sprinkle over the cheese and stir once more to distribute.
- For serving, nestle a toasted crostini round into the sauce and top with a shrimp. Spoon some of the sauce over each shrimp and serve family-style with the skillet in the center of the table. Serve with hot sauce on the side to give your guests the option.