Po’ Boys benefit dinner inspires shrimp creations

April 26, 2019
I’m going to tell you about the shrimp in the photo, but first I wanted to share a story of kindness. When we read the notice that Mike Clampitt of Po’ Boys Creole Restaurant was hosting a fundraiser for a local tornado victim, we made plans to be there. Mike’s friend, David Sully, runs a motorcycle shop and lives down the street on Seaford Road. 
The night of the category F2 storm, Sully was home with his dog when the winds started howling. Sully sat in a corner with his dog in his arms and watched as a window blew out from the force of the wind. The tornado proceeded to suck out the contents of the house, eventually destroying the entire place. Sully and his dog survived, but his home was demolished and his possessions were lost. He’s living in his shop.
The fundraiser was held April 20, when Mike donated 20 percent of the restaurant’s proceeds to help Sully. Mike is still collecting donations of money, household items, dog food and clothing for Sully, who wears 30-inch waist jeans, and medium-size shirts, underwear and socks. If you have questions, call Po’ Boys at 684-0890 or visit
Now, the shrimp. The dish in the photo is Mike’s version of a New Orleans classic I made many times when I lived there. Locals called it barbecue shrimp, but it isn’t made with barbecue sauce or any grilling techniques. The menu described this as shrimp in a Worcestershire and butter sauce, served with crusty bread slices. Typically, the whole shrimp are left in their shells, but these were already peeled.
Some versions of this recipe cook everything together in the oven; I prefer to make the sauce stovetop, adding the shrimp at the end and baking the dish for just a few minutes. I’ve seen recipes that have only three ingredients: shrimp, butter and pepper. In my version, there are lots of seasonings, so be sure scoop up all the solids that have settled on the bottom when you collect the sauce to ladle over the shrimp.
Every home cook and every restaurant chef in New Orleans has their own recipe for shrimp Creole, a spicy simmer of roux-thickened, well-seasoned tomato base (sauce piquant) studded with shrimp and served over fluffy rice. My recipe here is fairly straightforward; there’s no Worcestershire or Tabasco, as often seen in other versions. There’s also no sugar – you don’t want to blunt that sharp heat.
Although I usually stay away from green bell peppers (since they’re actually unripe), this dish is one where I defer to custom and include them. Because of the lengthy cooking time and ingredient list, you may prefer to have someone else make shrimp Creole for you, perhaps Mike Clampitt at Po’ Boys Creole Restaurant. Many thanks to Mike for his kindness!
Barbecue Shrimp
1 C butter
1 C olive oil
2 t minced garlic
4 crushed bay leaves
2 t crushed rosemary
1/2 t basil
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cayenne
1 T paprika
1/2 t pepper
1 t lemon juice
2 lbs whole, unpeeled shrimp
Melt the butter in a heavy, deep oven-safe pan. Stir in the oil, mixing well. Add the remaining ingredients except the shrimp and stir to combine. Cook over medium, stirring often, until mixture reaches a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow mixture to stand uncovered for at least 30 minutes. When ready to finish the dish, preheat oven to 450 F. Place the pan on medium heat and add shrimp. Cook until evenly pink, about 6 to 8 minutes. Place pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Spoon shrimp into 4 soup bowls and cover with about 1/2 C sauce each. Serve with slices of crusty bread to mop up the sauce. Yield: 4 servings.
Shrimp Creole
2 T butter
2 T flour
1 C sliced green onions
1/2 C chopped celery
1 C chopped onion
1/2 C chopped green pepper
4 t minced garlic
3 T minced parsley
16-oz can peeled whole tomatoes
8-oz can tomato sauce
1 T snipped chives
1/4 C dry red wine
4 crushed bay leaves
2 whole cloves
2 t salt
1 t pepper
1/2 t cayenne
1/4 t chili powder
1/4 t basil
1/2 t thyme
4 t lemon juice
2 lbs peeled, deveined shrimp
Melt the butter in a large, heavy soup pot over low heat. Add the flour and stir to combine. Cook the roux, stirring constantly until it reaches the color of peanut butter. Stir in green onions, celery, onion, green pepper, garlic and parsley. Cook until beginning to brown, stirring constantly. Add tomatoes and tomato sauce, stirring well. Mix in wine, seasonings and lemon juice. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Add the shrimp, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve over rice. Yield: 4 servings.

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