Everyone who lives on the westside remembers that little famous restaurant with it’s gothic-looking waitresses and dark candlelight setting that served the most flavorful shrimp broth your taste buds can imagine. They closed down for a couple years and reopened in mid 2011. They are now a bigger restaurant with more items on their menu.. The atmosphere has changed into a steak and seafood joint that has one item admired by followers from the old restaurant. My first visit during opening week was very hopeful, but they need a couple months to smooth things out. Wait time was long and food wasn’t quite satisfying. Looking around, I notice many things were still “in the works”. But this brings me back to the whole point of this article, the shrimp soup. I don’t know if it’s because of a different chef or opening week but the famous soup wasn’t as good as I remembered it.. Maybe because of other items on the menu which were taking time away from their special dish or they forgot/changed how they made it when they were a small joint a couple years ago. Soup was much spicier than normal, not that I’m complaining, I love spicy food, but if you are a weenie, this dish may not be for you.. Soup didn’t have that burst of flavor. It was missing that pile of leftover herbs at the bottom of your bowl when your piece of french bread sops up the last drop of soup. It tasted more like melted watery butter that was spicy to eat. I plan to go back but I’m giving it a couple months for them to smooth out their operations. I really hope they can bring back that group of followers which fell in love with that original shrimp broth back on washington blvd. In the meantime, I’ve researched online for the recipe and I found these two to try out. I’ll tell you how they turned out once I get a chance to make them.
One by mark Lawrence
|5||cloves garlic, minced|
|1 tsp||ground black pepper|
|1 tsp||crushed red pepper flakes|
|1 tsp||celery seed|
|1/2 tsp||fennel seed|
|1 cup||white wine|
|2 quarts||chicken broth|
|8 oz||clam juice|
|3 oz||tomato paste|
|2 lbs||shrimp or prawns, tails on|
Serve in large bowls, each person gets a lot of broth. Eaten with fingers. Wear bibs. Serve with french bread for dipping in broth.
To mince the garlic: place the garlic cloves on a cutting board, and place the flat of a large chef’s knife on a clove, then hit the other side with your fist. Peal the clove (it will be easy now). Place the pealed cloves near each other on the cutting board, hold the tip of the chef’s knife on the board with one hand about 3″ away from the cloves, and rock the blade up and down repeatedly. The edge of the knife is always touching the cutting board, you can’t possibly get cut.
Killer Cajun Shrimp or Crawfish
Serves 4 hungry people
The Aromatics: Fry onion, celery, garlic in the butter until fragrant and soft
½ small onion, diced
1 celery rib, diced
5 cloves Garlic, minced
1 stick of butter
The Spices: place all in a morter & smash (or just quickly run knife through the herbs on cutting board) You want the herbs to still stay whole, but you need to smash them to release its flavors. Add spices to the pot.
2 T Dried or fresh rosemary
2 tsp Dried thyme
1 T Dried fennel
2 tsp Celery seed
1 T Crushed red pepper flakes (less if you don’t like it too spicy, you can always add more later)
2 tsp Black Pepper (again, use less if you’re a wimp)
2 tsp kosher or sea salt
The Broth: Add the broth ingredients, simmer on low for at least 1 hour. Taste, add more salt if needed
1.5 quarts Chicken broth (low sodium and organic – because you already got a whole stick o’ butter in it already, might as well add some sort of health benefit to this dish)
16 oz Bottled Clam juice
1/2 lemon (cut in half just throw both pieces in the broth)
3 oz. Tomato paste
1 cup White wine
The Shrimp or Crawfish: Just before serving, add and simmer until done (how long depends on how big your shrimp or crawfish are. start with 3 minutes for Shrimp and 7 minutes for Crawfish. Check and adjust with more time if needed)
2 lbs Shrimp or 4 lbs Crawfish
1-2 loaves French bread, sliced – you can make your own loaves very easily! I always have 2 loaves on hand, 9 times out of 10 we grab the pot with leftover broth and dig in with the second loaf
- Fry onion, celery, garlic in the butter until fragrant and soft in a large pot.
- Take all the spices (rosemary, thyme, pepper, celery seed, fennel seed, pepper flakes) and cut/crush them enough that they remain whole but are broken to more easily release flavor.
- Pour in broth, and mix in rosemary, thyme, pepper, celery seed, fennel seed, clam juice, pepper flakes, & tomato paste. Place cover on pot to maintain consistency.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Stir beer into the broth mixture and continue to simmer and occasionally stir 2 hours.
- Just before serving, stir in shrimp. Continue cooking 3 minutes, or until shrimp are opaque.
- Serve with bread.