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Jumpin’! Steal this chef’s spicy shrimp appetizer

In this special weekly feature, “Today” food editor Phil Lempert brings you recipes “stolen” (with permission) from notable restaurants across the world. See how much money you can save — and fun you can have — by cooking these dishes at home!This week: Tasso Shrimp Henican, from the Commander’s Palace, Las VegasWhen you think Creole cooking, you probably think of New Orleans. Now, o

In this special weekly feature, “Today” food editor Phil Lempert brings you recipes “stolen” (with permission) from notable restaurants across the world. See how much money you can save — and fun you can have — by cooking these dishes at home!

This week: Tasso Shrimp Henican, from the Commander’s Palace, Las Vegas

When you think Creole cooking, you probably think of New Orleans. Now, one of that city’s most noted practitioners of the spicy-but-refined cuisine, the Commander’s Palace, has set up shop amid the glamour and glitz of the Las Vegas strip (where it joins outposts of other notable eateries such as Emeril’s, Aureole, Wolfgang Puck Café and Le Cirque). Situated at the Aladdin Resort & Casino, it’s the home of chef Carlos Guía and this week’s featured recipe: Tasso Shrimp Henican. So turn on some jazz and start cooking!

More about the chef: Growing up in Venezuela, Commander’s Palace executive chef Carlos Guía began his love affair with cooking in the family kitchen, preparing the intensely flavored foods of his region. Upon graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., Guía worked at Manhattan’s Waldorf-Astoria hotel, where he was promoted to chef saucier. To continue his education, Guía headed to Europe, apprenticing in France with famed chef Georges Blanc, in England with Raymond Blanc and Marco Pierre White, and in Belgium with Roger Souvereigns.

In 1995, Guía decided to move to New Orleans. After meeting Commander’s Palace Ella Brennan and executive chef Robert Bruce, he joined the team as a sous chef. With family roots in New Orleans, Guía was quickly “Creolized,” and within four months had been promoted to chef de cuisine. He then moved to the executive chef position at another fine-dining restaurant, the Red Room, prior to its opening in 1997, before reuniting with the Brennan family two years later as they opened their Las Vegas branch.

(PLEASE NOTE: Ingredient prices are estimates and based on national averages. Amounts listed are for one portion. Increase proportionately according to number of portions desired.)

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Shrimp and Tasso HenicanCarlos Guía

serves 1

Cut 1/4-inch-deep incisions down the back of each shrimp. Place tasso ham strip in each incision. Secure with a toothpick. (Tasso is a lean chunk of cured pork or beef that has been richly seasoned with peppers, garlic and other Cajun seasonings. Tasso is generally hard to find outside of Louisiana, but can sometimes be found at specialty gourmet shops.)

Combine flour with Creole seafood seasoning (also available at specialty shops), then dredge each shrimp until it is completely coated with the flour mixture. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then fry shrimp until they are firm and brown (about 30 seconds per side). Using a slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to paper towel to drain.

In a medium bowl, toss shrimp to coat them fully with Crystal Hot Sauce Beurre Blanc. Remove the toothpicks. Place a small portion of the Five-Pepper Jelly in the middle of the plate. Arrange the shrimp, alternating each with a piece of pickled okra.

91232486048960499jumbo shrimp33 jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined ($2.85)tasso ham2ounce2 ounces of tasso ham, cut into three 1-inch strips ($1.65)flour0.5cup1/2 cup flour ($0.10)creole seafood seasoning3tablespoon3 tablespoons Creole seafood seasoning ($0.23)vegetable oil0.5cup1/2 cup vegetable oil ($0.18)crystal hot sauce beurre blanc0.3333333333333333cup1/3 cup Crystal Hot Sauce Beurre Blanc (see recipe below)five-pepper jelly0.3333333333333333cup1/3 cup Five-Pepper Jelly (see recipe below)okras33 pickled okras, cut lengthwise in half ($0.15)
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Commander's Palace, Las Vegas

Five-Pepper JellyCarlos Guía

serves 1

Place corn syrup, vinegar and chili flakes in a small saucepan. Simmer until mixture is thick and reduced by two-thirds (about 10 minutes). Allow syrup to cool. Using a hot skillet, sauté peppers in a small amount of oil until colors brighten (about 2 minutes). Using a slotted spoon, transfer pepper mixture to the syrup, and stir to combine. Season jelly with salt and pepper.

9123248light corn syrup0.25cup1/4 cup light corn syrup ($0.14)white vinegar0.25cup1/4 cup white vinegar ($0.08)red pepper flakes1pinch1 pinch red pepper flakes ($0.05)1/4 each large red, yellow, and green bell peppers, seeds and membranes removed and finely diced ($1.10)jalapeno chili11 jalapeno chili, seeds and membranes removed and finely diced ($0.12)Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

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Crystal Hot Sauce Beurre BlancCarlos Guía

serves 1

Combine cream, hot sauce, shallots and garlic in a small saucepan. (Crystal Hot Sauce is available in specialty stores; other Louisiana-style hot sauces can be substituted if needed.) Simmer over medium heat until reduced by half, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Gradually whisk in butter. Season with salt.

9123248whipping cream0.125cup1/8 cup whipping cream ($0.23)crystal hot sauce or other hot sauce2tablespoon2 tablespoons Crystal Hot Sauce or other hot sauce ($0.13)shallots1tablespoon1 tablespoon shallots, very finely chopped ($0.14)garlic3clove3 medium cloves garlic, very finely chopped ($0.26)room-temperature unsalted butter ($0.35)3tablespoon3 tablespoons room-temperature unsalted butter ($0.35)

The Commander’s Palace

Desert Passage at the Aladdin Resort & Casino

3663 Las Vegas Boulevard South

Las Vegas, NV

702.892.8272

www.commanderspalace.com/las_vegas/index.php

Want to find out how you can make your favorite restaurant dish at home? 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.