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Shrimp Clemenceau is a New Orleans classic that appears on the menus of the city's old-school restaurants, like Dooky Chase and Galatoire's: big, juicy gulf shrimp are tossed with potatoes, mushrooms, and peas, and then the whole skillet is topped with a rich lemon-butter sauce. In the Treme cookbook, Shrimp Clemenceau gets a touch-up. The recipe appears in the section dedicated to chef Janette Desautel, and her version is a carefully assembled one.
The potatoes and mushrooms are roasted separately to bring out their earthy notes. Snap peas are blanched to preserve crunch before being tossed in warm butter. The shrimp are large, head on specimens, seared just until cooked through. But the real coup in this version is the lemon butter sauce. Instead of a basic mixture of lemon juice and melted butter, this sauce gets a full-on citrus punch from segmented fruit and microplaned zest. Desautel calls for Meyer lemons in the sauce, but ordinary Eurekas will do in a pinch.
Why I picked this recipe: For a slightly fancy seafood dinner, I couldn't go wrong with shrimp, butter, and some veggies to round things out.
What worked: The components were each a perfect match and came together in harmony on the plate. A generous pour of butter sauce is the unifying force.
What didn't: I used enoki mushrooms, and they were pretty dried out by the time the potatoes were finished cooking. Next time, I'll add them about halfway through the roasting process.
Suggested tweaks: If you can't find large head-on shrimp, you can substitute headless, but buy the biggest shrimp you can find. Eureka lemons can be substituted for the Meyer lemons, but you may need to add a pinch of sugar to balance out the acidity.
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and Berkeleyside NOSH, and she blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.