Where’s the Mardi Gras parade?

New Orleans chef Donald Link shows us how to eat like we’re partying at Mardi Gras.

Adapted from ‘Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link’s Louisiana’

In Louisiana, different-sized shrimp are typically used for specific dishes. Small shrimp usually end up in gumbos, stews or etouffees; medium are for spicy boils, po’ boys and frying (but let’s face it, all sizes are good fried). The largest, most beautiful shrimp are saved for special preparations — and they are almost always cooked in the shell. I came up with this recipe as an alternative to the more classic barbecued shrimp, for a similarly spicy result that doesn’t mask the fresh flavor or texture of the shrimp.

Chile-Roasted Shrimp Recipe


1 pound large head-on shrimp
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
3 red jalapenos, stemmed (not seeded) and thinly sliced (If you can’t find red jalapenos, green jalapenos are a good substitute.)
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup shrimp stock or water
1 tablespoon butter


In a large bowl, combine the shrimp with ½ cup of the olive oil, jalapenos, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper and lemon juice; toss well to mix. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate the shrimp at room temperature for 20 minutes, or refrigerate for up to six hours.

2 Preheat your oven as high as it will go, and arrange a rack in the middle. Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven for at least 10 minutes so that it gets extremely hot. (My favorite pan to use for this is a thin, blue-steel pan; they are very cheap and conduct heat really well.) Meanwhile, remove the shrimp from the marinade and discard the marinade. Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven and gently spread the shrimp across it in one layer — a little crowding is OK. Roast the shrimp until they turn bright pink, five to eight minutes, stirring only once. (Opening the oven too many times will allow too much heat to escape.)

3 Remove the shrimp from the oven and immediately pour the stock or water over them while still on the baking sheet. Finish with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and butter; toss to coat evenly. (The heat of the baking sheet should cause the liquids to bubble and reduce slightly. If the pan doesn’t seem hot enough, you can transfer the liquid to a saucepan over medium-high heat, allowing the sauce to reduce for a minute or two, then toss with the shrimp.)

4 Serve the shrimp and sauce with good bread, cold beer and napkins.

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