Shrimp Creole

  • Yield 12-15 servings

Traditionally a roux-and-tomato-based dish, Shrimp Creole in this new version has Vietnamese influences; it’s spicy and sweet, full of herbs and flavor.

Ditte Isager


5 pounds jumbo Louisiana or wild American shrimp, peeled and deveined
-- salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh lemongrass
1/2 cup olive oil
3 medium onions, diced
10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 -- bell pepper, red, green, or yellow, seeded and diced
5 pounds overripe Brandywine or other heirloom tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 -- bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
-- leaves from 2 branches fresh basil, chopped
-- leaves from 1 sprig fresh mint, chopped
-- sugar
-- 6-8 cups cooked white rice


  1. Put the shrimp into a large bowl, season with salt and pepper, then mix in the lemongrass. Heat ¼ cup of the oil in a large deep skillet over moderate heat. Add the shrimp, stirring and tossing them with a spatula. Sauté until they turn pink, about 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside while you make the sauce.

  2. Into the same skillet with the oil and shrimp juices, put the remaining ¼ cup oil and the onions, garlic, celery, and bell peppers and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and when the sauce comes to a simmer add the bay leaf, allspice, and red pepper flakes. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the shrimp back to the skillet along with the basil and mint. Cook for a minute or two. Season with salt and pepper. If the sauce tastes too tart, add a little sugar to balance the flavor. Remove the bay leaf. Serve over steamed Louisiana white rice.

Reprinted with permission from My New Orleans by John Besh, Andrews McMeel Publishing