TODAY Food Editor
In this special weekly feature, “Today” food editor Phil Lempert brings you recipes “stolen” (with permission) from notable restaurants across America. See how much fun you can have (and money you can save) by cooking these dishes at home.
THIS WEEK: Awesome Al’s Shrimp Pie fromPo’ Boys Creole Café in Tallahassee, Fla.
Named after the sandwich that was invented in New Orleans in the 1920s to feed the “poor boys” who couldn’t afford a large meal, Po’ Boys Creole Café has made a name for itself in Florida. Known for its inexpensive traditional Creole and Cajun fare, Carmen Calabrese and Jon Sweede’s restaurant has a distinctly New Orleans atmosphere. They have photographs of Big Easy landmarks and Mardi Gras memorabilia everywhere, and it’s a great place to relax and support the Florida State University teams. This week we’ve “stolen” a recipe that’s topped with shrimp, a spinach and cream cheese mixture, and a generous amount of provolone cheese made at Calabrese’s catering operation. For something a bit less filling, try serving it as an appetizer or with less cream cheese and provolone.
left/msnbc/Components/Photos/060718/060718_recipe_bcol2_9a.jpg2789100000leftfalse#000000http://msnbcmedia.msn.com1PfalsefalsefalsefalseAbout the chef: Carmen Calabrese and his high school buddy, Jon Sweede, made a pact as teenagers to open a restaurant together. Their goal was to make it happen before they turned 30. At their 10-year high school reunion, Sweede presented Calabrese with the business plan he and another friend had put together. Calabrese immediately resigned his position as a general manager at Chili’s and joined the business venture. Calabrese also had experience as former manager at T.G.I. Fridays and Catering Unlimited. The men opened their first 24-seat restaurant in Tallahassee, Fla., in 1992, only blocks away from Florida State University. Since then, Po' Boys Creole Café has grown into a six-unit chain.
Calabrese oversees the catering arm of Po’ Boys Creole Café. Most of the time, his dishes stick to Po’ Boys’ traditional Creole fare of gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice, and po’ boy sandwiches. But Calabrese has been known to cater elaborate Italian dinners as well as cocktail parties featuring stuffed mushrooms, cheese and crab dip and fresh shucked raw oysters, and holiday dinners serving Cajun-style turkeys and mashed potatoes. “As long as it’s not wedding cakes, I can pretty much do whatever you need,” he says.
Awesome Al’s Shrimp Pie is served at Po’ Boys Creole Caféfor $7.25. This recipe is for a serving size of two.
Po’ Boys Creole Café
224 E. College Avenue
Tallahassee, Fla. 32301
leftfalsefalse0falsefalse25Want to nominate your favorite restaurant dish for a "Steal This Recipe" feature? Just e-mail Phil at Phil.Lempert@nbc.com (or use the mail box below) with the name of the restaurant, city and state, and the dish you would like to have re-created. Want to know more about Phil and food? Visit his Web site at www.supermarketguru.com.