The History and Recipe Behind New Orleans’ BBQ Shrimp

BBQ Shrimp is an iconic New Orleans dish. In New Orleans, BBQ Shrimp isn’t about slathering grilled or fried shrimp in a ton of BBQ sauce. Rather, it is a shrimp dish delicately prepared in a rich butter sauce flavored with Worcestershire and white wine and eaten with dripping dipped French bread. You can find iterations at various restaurants and in homes across the city, but the original recipe comes from an Uptown restaurant, Pascal’s Manale.

Pascal Manale's

In the mid-1950s, the local Italian restaurant Pascal’s Manale, opened in 1913 on Napoleon Ave, invented the New Orleans BBQ shrimp recipe. The story goes that one of the restaurant’s regulars, Vincent Sutro, had just returned from a business trip to Chicago, and he began explaining a delicious dish he had there to chef Jake Radosta. He knew it had something to do with shrimp, butter and a lot of pepper, and he asked Radosta if he could try to make it.

Radosta did his best to recreate the dish based on the customer’s description. What he presented to Sutro ended up being not what Sutro had tasted in Chicago, but he remarked instead that it was even better. The restaurant put the dish on the menu, where it’s been ever since. From there, New Orleans BBQ Shrimp eventually became a staple of the city’s cuisine.

Care to try to recreate New Orleans BBQ Shrimp for yourself? Try Pascal’s Manale’s own recipe for yourself and your family at home, or take a trip over to the restaurant on your next visit to have the original New Orleans BBQ Shrimp in person. It’s only a 3 block woalk trip from our bed & breakfast.

Pascal’s Manale BBQ Shrimp Recipe

Makes 2 servings.

Shrimp:

1 pound (21-25 count) shrimp, heads removed 5 teaspoons Manale Spice (recipe follows) 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 1/4 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/2 cup white wine 1 tablespoon unsalted butter French bread for serving

Wash shrimp and pat dry. Put shrimp in a large skillet over high heat and add Manale Spice, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce, stirring constantly. Pour olive oil over shrimp, then add white wine. Stir to blend all ingredients thoroughly.

Continue cooking over high heat for 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add butter, and cook an additional 2 minutes until butter is thoroughly melted and blended in. Be careful not to overcook shrimp or they will become tough. Serve with French bread for dipping in sauce.

Manale Spice:

4 tablespoons black pepper 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon thyme 1 teaspoon oregano 1 teaspoon basil

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in a dry, airtight container.

 

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