I’ll never forget the first time my husband and I visited New Orleans. The palm trees lining Canal Street waved in the hot afternoon breeze, and the infamous street sign bearing the name “Bourbon Street” immediately caught my eye as we zipped by in our taxi heading towards the hotel.
After stashing our bags, we set out on foot to hunt for our first meal in the Big Easy. The irresistible scent of spicy seafood and slow cooked southern suppers wafted out of nearby kitchen windows, making us hungrier by the minute. Less than an hour later we found ourselves seated inside Emeril Lagasse’s restaurant NOLA in the heart of the French Quarter, where I dined on what would be the best meal of our entire trip – Shrimp & Sweet Corn Maque Choux.
The freshest of sweet corn sautéed with colorful bell peppers, onions and fresh vegetables, drizzled with cream, seasoned with Creole spices, and served under just-caught gulf shrimp. What a way to start a vacation!
Back home I immediately got to work on recreating the dish, with amazing results. Fresh vegetables are the key to this recipe, which cook quickly and retain their bright, crisp flavors.
Shrimp & Sweet Corn Maque Choux
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 shallot, minced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 green onion, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 zucchini, diced
2 cups sweet corn (frozen or fresh)
2 tablespoons water
4 teaspoons Cajun or creole seasoning, divided
1/3 cup half and half
20 jumbo shrimp, peeled, de-veined and tails removed
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot, red and green peppers, and green onion. Season with salt and pepper, and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add zucchini, sweet corn, water and 2 teaspoons Cajun or creole seasoning to the skillet. Cook until zucchini is tender, about 2 minutes. Add half and half, and stir. Turn off heat.
Meanwhile, season shrimp with remaining 2 teaspoons Cajun or creole seasoning. Melt butter in a separate skillet and cook shrimp in four batches, about 2 minutes on each side, or until curled, pink and cooked all the way through. Do not overcook.
Divide corn mixture between four plates. Top each plate with 5 cooked shrimp, and serve immediately.
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