How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Cajun Shrimp

We think of our Mini Moosewood (see *note below) as a vegetarian cook book, but it is actually pescatarian, and in it we found a simple recipe for preparing shrimp -- Cajun-style. I began with a pound of fresh, uncooked, huge shrimp directly from our favorite, seaside fishmonger.

I melted butter and olive oil in our indispensible cast-iron skillet while I chopped a small onion and four cloves of garlic. It turns out I could have used half an onion, but I'm glad I included all that garlic. As the aromatics softened over medium-high heat, I peeled and rinsed the shrimp. The recipe suggest keeping them intact, but that seemed like a messy way to eat dinner. Maybe it would have been more authentic, though.

I then added the interesting combination of spices called for in the recipe: rosemary, thyme, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and paprika. I did not measure any of this, but I think I was a bit heavy-handed with the peppers, and I don't regret it!

I then added a splash each of Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and Sauvignon Blanc. I continued cooking and stirring for just a few minutes, until the shrimp was pink and opaque.

We followed the book's suggestion and served this with nothing more than some nice crusty bread, and the rest of that chilled, dry wine.

*Readers of this blog will notice that this is one of our most frequently-used books. It is probably the best one for beginning cooks, or anyone who often cooks for just 1-2 people to invest in. Unlike the other books from the same famous restaurant, this focuses on what the Moosewood chefs prepare for themselves, and is therefore the perfect balance between quality and simplicity.

We purchased it in 1996, when I was leaving Pam home alone while doing dissertation work in the Amazon. Pam wanted to be sure she continued our tradition of eating real dinners, but was not sure that would be easy by herself. Because of this book -- plus the kindness of friends and her own determination -- she managed to have an actual dinner every single night of that three-month solitude.

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