The Fish Peddler East is a long, narrow room containing a long, narrow row of cases and a swarm of staffers in t-shirts behind them. They have everything local (pompano), semi-local (Key West pink shrimp and Turks and Caicos conch), and far, far away (Scottish salmon). I love the frenetic atmosphere and the fact that they always slip a lemon or a lime into your bag after you pay.
Recently, the rock shrimp caught our eyes. Steve and I decided that we were in the mood for something Cajun, so I made a rock shrimp etouffe.
Etouffe is one of my favorite Cajun dishes and usually it is made with crawfish. A good recipe usually involves frightening amounts of butter and cream, but I discovered a recipe by Marcelle Bienvenu that called for a reasonable--sane, even--amount of butter and no cream. It is so flavorful, you won't miss the cream, or the crawfish.
Rock Shrimp Etouffe
Adapted from this recipe at Epicurious.com
1 pound peeled and cleaned rock shrimp (if you have crawfish tails, though, use 'em!)
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water
Salt and cayenne pepper, to taste
1/8 cup chopped fresh parsley
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat, then add the butter, allowing it to melt. When the butter starts to foam, add the onions, bell peppers, and celery and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft and golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the rock shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes, until the shrimp begin to turn pink, about 2-3 minutes.
As the shrimp are cooking, whisk the cornstarch into the water until well blended. Add to the shrimp mixture. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens, another 2 minutes. Season with salt and cayenne.
Serve immediately over steamed rice. Garnish with a sprinkling of parsley.