Creole Okra and Tomatoes with Gulf Shrimp
by Chef Maggie Perkins
1 pound large shrimp
1 large bulb garlic
3 medium onions, chopped
1 pound okra, sliced thinly
3 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
Pinch of cinnamon
Salt, black pepper, red pepper sauce to taste
Over medium heat, bring a heavy saucepan, with bottom covered with cooking oil, to a slow shimmer. Add shrimp, with shells, in a single layer. Heat until just pink on one side, turn individually, and cook until just pink on remaining side. Turn off heat, remove shrimp, and allow to cool enough to handle.
Cut bottom and top from bulb of garlic. Separate cloves. Reserve.
Peel shrimp, reserving shells and tails. Set shrimp aside, covered.
Bring cooking oil back to medium heat, and add unpeeled garlic cloves and shrimp shells. Stirring frequently, allow garlic and shells to infuse cooking oil for approximately 10 minutes, occasionally adding oil to keep bottom of pan liberally covered, if necessary. Remove garlic and shells from oil.
To infused oil over medium high heat, add chopped onions, stirring frequently, cooking until limp. Add sliced okra, cooking until slightly seared. Add chopped tomatoes and seasonings. Cook, stirring frequently, until tomatoes begin to break down and release their juices, and most okra “slime streams” have subsided, about 5-10 minutes. Reduce heat, add shrimp and warm through, until shrimp are completely opaque, about 3-5 minutes.
Correct seasonings. Serve.
Photo Credits: Maggie C. Perkins, of Notes from Maggie’s Farm.