Shrimp Creole


  • 5 pounds jumbo Louisiana or wild American shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemongrass, minced
  • ½ cup olive oil, divided use
  • 3 medium onions, diced
  • 10 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, red, green or yellow, seeded and diced
  • 5 pounds overripe Brandywine tomatoes or other heirloom tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 bay fresh leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Leaves from 2 branches fresh basil, chopped
  • Leaves from 1 sprig fresh mint, chopped
  • Sugar
  • 6-8 cups white rice, cooked


Put the shrimp into a large bowl, season with salt and pepper, then mix in lemongrass. Heat ¼ cup of the olive oil in a large deep skillet over moderate heat. Add the shrimp and saute until they turn pink, about 2 minutes; transfer to bowl. 

Into the same skillet, add remaining and sweat onions, garlic, celery and bell peppers, about 2 minutes. 
Add tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low, bring to a simmer and add bay leaf, allspice and red pepper flakes. Simmer, 10 minutes.
Return shrimp to skillet and add basil and mint. Cook for a minute or two. Season with salt and pepper. Adjust flavors if the sauce is too acidic by adding a pinch or two of sugar. Remove the bay leaf. Serve over steamed white rice. 

Makes 12 to 15 servings.

Chef-owner John Besh, Restaurant August, New Orleans