Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Peddler

Living near the ocean has its attractions, not least of which is the abundance of fresh seafood. As I've mentioned previously, I do not like to fish. Not a fan of the heat, the tipping boat, or the flopping, dying fish. That said, I love to eat fish and shellfish, so my husband and I go to The Fish Peddler East, a fish store near our house.

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

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.

Serves: 4


abhi said...

Shrimps are really tasty.

Foodycat said...

Lovely photographs! And a really delicious-sounding dish.

muddywaters said...

Before I die I want to live somewhere that has fresh seafood, so I can cook it on a regular basis. We do have access to shrimp, but it's the frozen stuff.

I have a couple of books by Marcelle Bienvenu, and I always just skip anything involving seafood because I know it will depress me knowing that I'll never be able to prepare those dishes because I live in a landlocked state.

I'm currently reading Marcelle's book she edited with Judy Walker, titled Cooking up a Storm. It's a great collection of recipes. You should check it out.

Grace said...

a reasonable amount of butter and no cream, you say? paula deen would keel over, but i love it. awesome recipe, sarah!