Thursday, July 23, 2009

Shrimp Creole...Remembering Craig Claiborne

Pin It We go around trying to invent new recipes when there are so many old ones, like Shrimp Creole, that are just great.

To those of you too young to remember, Craig Claiborne (September 4, 1920 – January 22, 2000) was an American restaurant critic, food writer and former food editor of the New York Times from 1957 to 1988. He was the author of numerous cookbooks and an autobiography. Over the course of his career, he made many contributions to gastronomy and food writing in the United States including the now-universal reviewing system of awarding stars to reflect quality. His most famous, and best-selling cookbook is the 1961 NEW YORK TIMES COOKBOOK. Craig Claiborne died at 79 and left his considerable estate to the Culinary Institute of America.

Two cookbooks were given to me for my wedding in of them was the Joy of Cooking and the other was The New York Times Cookbook by Craig Claiborne. Together with my grandmother, my mother and Julia Child, he was one of the most influential people in my kitchen.

This is an adaptation of Craig Claiborne's Shrimp Creole recipe. I made it over the weekend with some tweeking here and there and it was one of the best shrimp dishes I have cooked in a long, long time. It's a great dish to prepare for a dinner party as it can easily be prepared a day or two ahead. It freezes very nicely too. Why don't you serve it with the Cold Cucumber & Spinach Soup to start!

I had it with a chilled and inexpensive Pinot Grigio which was already chilling in the refrigerator and it was great!

Yield 2 -4 Servings


1 pound raw shrimp

2 tablespoons butter*

2 tablespoons olive oil *

3/4 cup coarsely chopped onion

3 small ribs celery, coarsely chopped

1 green pepper, cored, seeded and coarsely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 cups canned tomatoes, preferably Italian peeled tomatoes
(I used Pomi Crushed Tomatoes)

2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried

1 bay leaf

Tabasco sauce

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Worcestershire sauce (optional)*

Juice of half a lemon.


1. Shell and devein the shrimp. Rinse and pat dry. Set aside.

2. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until onion is wilted. Add the celery, green pepper and garlic. Cook briefly, stirring. The vegetables must remain crisp.

3. Add the tomatoes, thyme, bay leaf, Tabasco and Worcesterhire sauce to taste, lemon rind, salt and pepper to taste. I added the basil and lemon basil, but its optional. Simmer 10 minutes uncovered. 4. Add the shrimp and cover. Cook three to five minutes, no longer. Add the chopped parsley, lemon juice and, if desired, more Tabasco sauce to taste.

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