Commander’s Tasso Shrimp with Five-Pepper Jelly ▶
Chef Jamie Shannon led the legendary Commander’s Palace kitchen in the ‘90s. This is his combination of butterflied jumbo shrimp with spicy tasso ham, deep-fried and served with spicy butter sauce and pepper jelly. The pepper jelly is a nice accent for grilled fish, roast chicken, or lamb, so double the recipe and store it in a sterilized jar in the refrigerator. When doubling the recipe, keep the amount of cayenne the same unless you share Louisiana’s love of hot stuff, in which case, double it along with everything else.
- Tasso Shrimp
- Tasso Ham - 8 ounces, cut into 32 matchsticks
- Shrimp - 30, jumbo, deveined and butterflied
- Eggs - 2
- Milk - 2 cups
- All-Purpose Flour - 2 cups
- Vegetable Oil - 8 cups, for deep-frying
- Crystal Butter Sauce
- Crystal Hot Sauce - 1/2 cup (alt.other hot pepper sauce)
- Dry white wine - 1/2 cup
- Shallots - 1/2 tablespoon, minced
- Garlic - 1/4 tablespoon, minced
- Unsalted Butter - 2 cups (4 sticks)
- Pepper Jelly (recipe follows)
- Frisee - 3 handfuls (alt. watercress)
To prepare the tasso shrimp: Place a piece of tasso inside a slit in the shrimp and secure with a toothpick. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and milk together until blended. Dip each shrimp into this mixture, then dredge in the flour.
Heat the oil to 350 F in a deep-fat fryer or large heavy pot. Deep-fry the shrimp in batches for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
To make the butter sauce: Combine the hot sauce, wine, shallots, and garlic in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the mixture is reduced by half. Let cool to warm, then slowly add the butter, 4 tablespoons at a time, stirring constantly. The key to this sauce, like all butter sauces, is to keep the mixture warm at all times, neither too hot (golden streaks of melted butter will appear in the sauce) nor too cool (the added butter will not melt and blend in). Periodically place the pan over low heat to keep the sauce just warm enough to melt the butter.
To serve: Arrange 1/4 cup of the pepper jelly on the lower side of each of six salad plates. Place the butter sauce in a small bowl and dip the shrimp into the sauce to coat evenly. Place 5 shrimp on each plate in a circular design and garnish with suitable greens, such as frisee or watercress.