August 5, 2011

My Version of Pascal's Manale BBQ Shrimp

served as an appetizer
Will the real Pascal recipe please stand out...

For as long as I can remember enjoying barbequed shrimp I have, like most folks, been confused on the real Pascal's Manale recipe. The more I research it, the more confuse I become as it seems everyone including those who work there are very rigid in their opinions on the correct method and the right ingredients. Many won't say and those who do talk babble endless about what amounts to much about nothing.

Now for those of you not familiar with BBQ shrimp, it has nothing to do what so ever with barbeque as you know it. That's just a misnomer that somehow stuck. Pascale's Manale is the oldest Italian restaurant still in operation in New Orleans, uptown area on Napoleon Ave, opened in 1913
and still has one of the finest oyster bars anywhere. Opened by Frank Manale, it later fell into the hands of his nephew Pascal Radosta thus the two's name. Now, as the story goes, a customer back in 1955 asked for a shrimp dish he remembered from Chicago and Pascal whipped up what would become one of the most famous food dishes coming from New Orleans, Barbecued Shrimp.

Getting back to the recipe, as said, there are as many versions of the real recipe as there are shrimp in the ocean, well almost. Filtering through the multitude of folks giving their two-cents-worth, I have come to one conclusion; that it don't matter. You see, many critics agree better barbeque shrimp can be had than the ones claiming to be Pascal's Manale own version and any good Creole cook worth a toot can fix a good pan of barbeque shrimp.

Pascal's Manale BBQ Shrimp
Now, with that said, let me back up a few facts I did find and add my own two-cents from my many attempts of recreating this dish. Most all agree the sauce is loaded in black pepper and is made mostly of real butter. I say mostly as many swear by their own sweat that only margarine is used while others say a mixture of butter and oil.  What ever you use, do the shrimp a favor and use at least one stick of butter per pound of shrimp. I suspect the original barbequed shrimp did not contain wine nor beer but was indeed consumed with lots of beer as it is in our house. I think it is up to the cook to season the stock with wine or beer if so desire. I also agree after much researching with the cooking technique from the Junior League of Lafayette Louisiana, that is to cook the shrimp on the stove and then let the dish meld together in a warm oven.

I have made many versions of barbeque shrimp and will continue to do other ways than this one but after finally tweaking this one, by golly it is my favorite thus far. Let me say I am a firm believer in cooking shrimp with head and shell left on. It gives a much deeper flavor. However, this time I did not for I served this as an appetizer to my dinner guest, see note.  The recipe is with shells on. Enjoy!

My Version of Pascal's Manale BBQ Shrimp
serves 4

1 1/2 pounds (21-25 count) shrimp
5 teaspoons Manale Spice, recipe below
2 bay leaves
5 toes of garlic, pressed
1 stick of butter, melted
1/2 stick margarine, melted
2 good tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
juice of 2 lemons (5 to 6 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper hot sauce
1/2 cup white wine or beer
1 bu green scallions or1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
1 lemon thinly sliced for garnishment


Manale Spice
( from Chef Mark DeFelice)
4 tablespoons black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon rosemary, optional
Combine all spice ingredients thoroughly and store in a dry, airtight container.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

Wash the shrimp and pat dry. Place unpeeled shrimp in a large skillet or heavy roaster over medium high heat. Cook shrimp tossing occasionally until shrimp turn pink. Remove from heat and sprinkle the Manale Spice. Toss to coat and add the bay leaves.

In a bowl, mix the garlic into the melted butter and margarine. Stir in the Worcestershire, lemon juice, pepper sauce and wine. Pour over the shrimp and mix in the onions. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium heat and cook for about 3 minutes stirring occasionally. Cover with foil. Turn off heat in the oven and place skillet in oven for 1 hour or more to let the shrimp absorb the flavors of the sauce. Remove from the oven when you just can't stand it any longer. Lay the lemon slices over the top for garnishment.

Serve in bowls with crusty French bread on the side to soak of the sauce. I like to serve this with a salad, corn and potatoes.

Note:  For appetizers, I used 51-60 count shrimp gulf white shrimp, peeled and deveined. I added the butter mixture to the pan and brought it to a boil, then added the shrimp cooking until they turned pink. Added the onions and let rest in the oven for an hour. Add the lemons right before serving as they will make the sauce bitter if cooked into it. Guest enjoyed about a cup serving portion.

8 comments :

  1. I don't know anything about bbq shrimp, but that sounds absolutely wonderful!

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  2. Many versions of the "real" recipe...so funny, but so true!

    And, for the record, I'm a butter girl!

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  3. hmm I am certain I commented... wonder what happened came back after reading about you at Trixs place to see whats new.. glad I came back! Love the idea of barbecued shrimps the seasonings here as usual are perfect, can you do a road trip? italian style creole cooking here lol !

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  4. This is new one for me Drick, sounds fantastic! Sounds like many other regional recipes, lots of variations of what everyone calls "the real" recipe!

    Have a great weekend!

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  5. Very interesting post. I love the history behind the dish - especially the controversy. Your version looks just perfect to me!

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  6. I am just going to say that this is probably the best version of BBQ Shrimp I have come across! What a fabulous melding of flavors... divine recipe my friend, just divine!

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  7. So far no one has it right....My father was blessed to receive the recipe 35 years ago! I have been sworn to secrecy. Margarine and lots of black pepper are two main ingredients, but I can't tell the secret one which I haven't seen anyone put on their site.

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  8. I have been craving Manale's shrimp ever since I had it there for a po'boy at lunch years ago. I need crave no longer! This was AH-MAY-ZING!!!! I did use the beer, and a bit of olive oil instead of margarine. Otherwise, followed your recipe to a t (except I used fresh rosemary as that's what I had.) SO even said he didn't want to dip the bread (sacrilege!) as it would fill up his stomach too much and not leave enough for the amazing shrimp! Didn't want to make the trip to the asian markets for head on shrimp, so just used frozen, shell on... I just have to say, SERIOUSLY, SERIOUSLY GOOD! Next day is even better....thanks for posting!

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