Growing up, we would often visit our French Cajun relatives in New Orleans. My great great Aunt would always put out a spread, but one dish I remember in particular was Shrimp Mirliton. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
1 lb. shrimp, peeled deveined
1 1/2 oz. tasso or salt pork, diced
1 medium yellow onion, 1/4″ dice
1/2 red bell pepper, 1/4″ dice
1/2 green bell pepper, 1/4″ dice
1 rib of celery, 1/4″ dice
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/8 cup chopped parsley
1 bunch of green onion, sliced thinly
1/4 cup chopped herbs (half oregano or marjoram, half thyme)
1 1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated pecorino romano
3 TBSP cream
Boil mirlitons for 45 minutes. Let cool, peel, deseed, and cut into 3/4″ cubes.
Season shrimp with half of the cayenne, onion powder, half of the white pepper, half of the black pepper
Preheat oven to 350º. Brown tasso in 1 TBSP olive oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat until brown and fat is rendered. Add 1 TBSP butter and add onion, bell pepper, celery, the bay leaf and the salt. Cook until vegetables are soft and onion is translucent. Add garlic, cayenne and 3/4 of the chopped herbs. Cook for two minutes. Add mirlitons. Cooks for 30 minutes, stirring frequently to keep mirlitons from sticking. Be careful not to break up mirlitons.
Add shrimp, parsley, green onions and the remainder of the cayenne, black pepper and white pepper and cook until shrimp are pink in color.
Remove from heat. Lightly beat the eggs and add the cream. Pour the egg mixture along with 3/4 cup of the bread crumbs into the mirliton mixture and stir together. Pour into a casserole dish. Mix the remaining chopped herbs, pecorino and the remaining breadcrumbs together and sprinkle over the top of the mirliton mixture. Add water or stock to loosen if mixture is too dry. Add small pieces of butter over the top of the bread crumbs and bake at 350º for 30 minutes.