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Nov 8, 2013

New Orleans Appreciation Night: BBQ Shrimp, American Horror Story, and Top Chef

Are you guys watching American Horror Story: Coven? It is my new favorite AHS, both because it is set in naturally spooky New Orleans and because of all of the amazing female actresses involved. Here are my top four AHS witches:

Frances Conroy as Myrtle Snow, serving Grace Coddington realness.
Lily Rabe as Misty Day, serving Stevie Nicks realness.
Angela Bassett as Marie Laveau, serving immortal voodoo priestess realness.
Jessica Lange, as Fiona Goode, will cut you. It doesn't get any more real than that.
Pair AHS with the perennially entertaining Top Chef, which is also currently set in New Orleans, and you are ready for an exciting Wednesday night of television from the bayou. I recommend upping the ante by preparing some New Orleans-style cuisine for your viewing party, specifically, barbecued shrimp. My husband Josh and I have made this recipe from Everyday Food multiple times, and it always delivers. It was originally contributed by Emeril Lagasse, so therefore it has some claim to authenticity, even when adapted by a couple of Yankees. Or at least that's what I tell myself. Regardless, it is delicious.

Shrimp cooked with the shell on realness.
New Orleans-Style BBQ Shrimp

Coarse salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 a bell pepper, diced small (green or red, optional)
1 large celery stalk, diced small (3/4 cup)
1 small bunch scallions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce 
1 large lemon, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1 3/4 pounds shell-on extra-large raw E-Z peel shrimp, deveined


In a large heavy pot, melt butter over medium-high. Add pepper, celery, scallion whites, and garlic and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add Creole seasoning and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
Add Worcestershire, lemon, and shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are pink and coated with sauce, about 4 minutes.

It is recommended (by me) that you say "Bam!" after adding each ingredient. The original recipe calls for serving the shrimp over rice, but Josh and I like it with polenta instead. I always used to think I didn't like grits until I had polenta and realized they are basically the same thing. Here's the recipe we use:


3 cups water
3 cups broth (vegetable or chicken) or use all water
1 3/4 cups coarse yellow cornmeal
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Milk or cream (as needed)

Bring broth and/or water to a boil in a heavy large saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the butter, and stir until melted. If your polenta gets thicker than you would like, or you want a creamier consistency, add milk. 

Anyway, enjoy American Horror Story, Top Chef, and especially this recipe!

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