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David Wade on New Orleans: Shrimp Creole Recipe

"I am often asked by discerning patrons of good food which city in the United States is the food capital. Is it New York, San Francisco or New Orleans? Each city, of course, stands alone when it comes to its own characteristic skilletry. But there never has been a match for New Orleans when Southern Creole food is demonstrated.

This bewitching city is permeated with the very aroma of food: Bananas unloaded on the docks, strong coffee overtones the air from the roasting ovens, the river giant proffers its pungent smells of crayfish and shrimp, the flower-frangrance of sugar and spice. This crossroads of Old World and New World cultures seemingly bubbles with tantalizing thoughts of food.

Creole cooking was welded together by the French, who brought with them the traditions of centuries of gourmet skill; the Spanish, who brought the exotic trappings which are the hallmark of Creole food; and the African-American culture, who blended them together in the cooking manner of the Deep Delta.

New Orleans -- old enchantress that she is -- doesn't leave out atmosphere either: Harbor noises, a tinkling banjo, perfumery from the walled gardens, and a horn wailing out the jazz for which the Queen of the Mississippi is also famous put you into the world of Creole cooking. And the treatment given seafood in New Orleans is enough to forever haunt your hungry moments. See for yourself. Try Shrimp Creole."

- By David Wade, from The David Wade Collection


½ cup oil

2 cups chopped onion

1 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 cup chopped celery

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 cups whole tomatoes

1 tablespoon paprika

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon Worcestershire powder

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups water

1 bay leaf

3 pounds raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 tablespoons cornstarch, optional

Hot cooked rice

Sauté, in hot oil, onion, green pepper, celery and garlic, until tender. Stir in tomatoes and brown lightly. Add paprika, cayenne pepper, Worcestershire powder, sugar, salt, water and bay leaf. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Add shrimp, and continue simmering for 10 to 12 minutes more. If desired, thicken sauce with cornstarch slur. Serve over hot rice.

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