New Orleans Shrimp Crostini with Creole Butter

I LOVE New Orleans style BBQ shrimp.  The sauce is dark and buttery with such depth of flavor from the creole seasoning.  Typically you get those flavors by creating a stock that starts with cooking the shrimp shells down with onion, garlic, creole spices, beer and Worcestershire sauce.  The sauce is finished with butter and served with shrimp piled high on the plate; the sauce poured all around it.  I wanted  to see if I could use this same idea and flavors to create an appetizer that is quick and easy to pull together but still screams New Orleans BBQ Shrimp!  So I reversed the process a bit and decided to make a compound butter (which is just a butter with a bunch of flavors in it) to spread onto my crostini.  I used smoked paprika, garlic, thyme, and oregano and a little Worcestershire and hot sauce for heat.  Then I used some of the same dried herbs to create a dry rub to coat the shrimp, with a bit of lemon zest to brighten it.  Not over cooking the shrimp but having the pan hot enough to get a nice color to the outside of the shrimp is a key step.  And then I just finished the sauce with a bit of amber beer and a touch of that Creole butter.  Be careful not to cook the butter for more than a few seconds.  It’s just there to thicken the beer and spices in the pan and to create a coating for the shrimp.  Serve this with a nice amber beer, to mirror the flavors found in the dish.  Maybe a new super bowl favorite?
  1. Make the Creole butter by whisking together the butter and all the spices in a medium bowl.  Before you add the spices make sure the butter is really soft (but not melted).  Set aside but do not refrigerate unless serving much later.  Otherwise refrigerate and bring back to a soft, room temperature before serving.
  2. Make the crostini by preheating the over to 350 and placing the cut bread on a baking sheet.  Drizzle the top with a little olive oil.  Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown on the edges but not too done or the bread will become tough.  Set aside.
  3. Rinse and pat the shrimp dry and then coat with the thyme, oregano, zest, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  Set aside.
  4. Heat a medium, heavy skillet over medium high heat and add in the canola oil.  When hot place the shrimp in the skillet in a single layer.  Cook for about 30 seconds on the first side or until they just start to turn pink, flip and cook another 20 to 30 seconds or until just cooked through.  The second side will go faster.  Do not over cook as you will reheat.  Remove the shrimp from the pan and place on a plate.  Carefully add the beer to the hot skillet and deglaze the pan by whisking the mixture around for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Add the 1 Tablespoon of Creole butter and whisk for a few seconds to thicken.  Remove from heat.  You should have 2 Tablespoons or so of sauce.
  5. Chop the shrimp into ¼ inch pieces and pour the pan sauce over the shrimp.  Can be refrigerated at this point if made ahead.
  6. When ready to serve generously butter each slice of crostini with softened Creole butter and top with shrimp mixture.  Reheat, if needed, in a 300 degree oven for 3-4 minutes.  You don’t want the butter to melt all over but it should be slightly warm.  Sprinkle with fresh chopped flat leaf parsley and lemon slices on the side.

 

Creole Butter
 
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
½ teaspoon paprika (sweet)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
6-7 (or more) dashes hot sauce
¾ Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
 
 
Shrimp
 
½ lb uncooked shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 Tablespoon Creole butter (see above)
1/3 cup amber beer
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
¾ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
 
½ large baguette or 1 small, cut into ½ inch slices
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Fresh flat leaf parsley (garnish)
Lemon slices (garnish)

*Serves 4-6 (recipe can be doubled for a larger group)

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