|May 10th is National Shrimp Day! And in south Louisiana shrimp isn’t just an ingredient we use in Cajun cooking; it’s a way of life representing an industry that supports businesses and families up and down the bayou in Terrebonne parish. Our shrimp game is strong in Bayou Country!
Every year in late April and early May, shrimpers put on their white boots, prep their boats, stock up on supplies, and head down the bayou to begin the Brown Brazilian Shrimp Season.
It all starts with the Blessing of the Fleet, a time-honored Catholic, Cajun, and Native American tradition. Communities hold the floating boat procession every year to ask Bon Dieu (God) for protection and a bountiful harvest.
For many commercial fishermen, shrimping is not only a source of income, but a family tradition handed down from several generations. Down the bayou, our shrimping communities are abundant in the lower parts of Bayou Country and represent a resilient part of our Cajun culture. Terrebonne parish produces the largest amount of shrimp by volume in the state of Louisiana.
This is why you will find an abundance of fresh shrimp offered in our local restaurants. Shrimp is present on every menu, gumbo, boiled, fried, stewed, grilled, stuffed, and etouffeed! It is everywhere in Bayou Country!
Local proprietors, Kim and David Chauvin, owners of David Chauvin Seafood Company, and Down the Bayou Shrimp Tours are experts in all things shrimp. David is a fourth-generation fisherman born and raised in the commercial fishing industry in Terrebonne parish, and their shrimp tour is one of only a few in the region.
In honor of National Shrimp Day, they have provided a unique recipe! Enjoy!
David Chauvin’s Softshell Shrimp Appetizer
We enjoy making all of our food from scratch, so here’s a beautiful appetizer to make to celebrate National Shrimp Day, May 10th.
Makes 6 appetizers
24—Louisiana Softshell Shrimp (You can purchase these from David Chauvin’s Seafood Company in Dulac at 8238 Grand Caillou Road in Dulac OR in Cocodrie at 7861 Hwy 56.)
4 cups Flour
2 Tblsp Tony’s Original
1.5 cups Water
1 tsp of Tony’s Original
Vegetable oil or Avocado Oil
Spicy Sweet Chili Sauce—recipe below OR you can buy the Sweet Chili Sauce already made.
Cole Slaw recipe:
Vinegar to taste
Mayo to taste
Cleaning Softshell Shrimp: To clean snip with scissors right behind the eyes.
Put oil in a frying pan or fry daddy. Heat up the oil.
Place Flour and seasonings in a bowl. Mix well.
Put eggs, 1 tsp of Tony’s Original and water in a bowl and whisk.
Place softshell shrimp in the egg wash, dredge through Flour, and place on a platter.
Gently place softshell shrimp in the hot oil. Fry until golden brown.
During the frying process, make the coleslaw recipe.
Place your shredded head of cabbage in a bowl. Add 2 capfuls of vinegar and a cooking spoon of creamy mayonnaise and stir. Add seasoning to taste—a bit of salt and Tony’s original.
Plating the Appetizer:
Lay down a bed of coleslaw. Place 4 fried softshell shrimp on top and drizzle with the spicy-sweet chili sauce. Enjoy!
Spicy Sweet Chili Sauce:
½ cup of rice vinegar
¾ cup of water
½ cup of honey
5 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp soy sauce
½ tsp cayenne pepper
2.5 tbsp Sambal Oelek or 2 tbsp of dried chili flakes & 1 tbsp extra rice wine vinegar
4 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp waterInstructions:
Add the vinegar, water, honey, garlic cloves, soy sauce, and cayenne pepper (if using) into a non-stick pan.
Heat over medium heat while stirring to dissolve the honey a bit. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for about 2 minutes.
Add the sambal oelek chili paste or dried chili pepper flakes and mix through. Let it cook for a few minutes until slightly thickened (2-5 minutes)
Mix the cornstarch and water into a smooth slurry and add this to the sauce as well.
While stirring frequently (to prevent the sauce from burning at the bottom), simmer the sauce for a further 2-5 minutes or until it reaches the desired thickness. Remember, the sauce thickens as it cools as well. If it thickens too much, use a little extra water to thin it out.
Pour into glass jars with air-tight lids (OR heated and sterilized jars to store for longer.)
Cool to room temperature (1 hour) and store in the fridge.
Servings: 32 Tablespoons