Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bringing the Heat

This year I planted a cayenne pepper plant just for fun. The plant care tag placed in the soil of the plant said that it was produced a lot of fruit. Man, talk about truth in advertising! I've harvested about a dozen pepper so far and there are about a dozen growing on the plan right now. This is just one little plant in one window box! So, when life gives you cayenne peppers, you have to make Cajun food.

In my usual improvisational manner, I set out collecting ingredients. I got an inspiration to do shrimp and andouille sausage over grits. I bought a half pound of large shrimp, a 15 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes, and an andouille sausage. I raided the pantry and the fridge for the rest of the ingredients and I was ready to go.

I sliced one Vidalia onion thinly, one sweet red bell pepper was cut into strips, two cloves of garlic were sliced thinly, and to add some fireworks two cayenne peppers were sliced thinly. I peeled and deveined the shrimp. The shells were stored in the freezer for a future shrimp stock. I cut eight ounces of the andouille on a bias. With everything prepped, I was ready to cook.

I heated a sautoir over high heat then added just a teaspoon of oil. I browned the sausage and removed it to a bowl. The onions, red bell pepper, and cayenne peppers were cooked in the same pan as the andouille. When the vegetables were soft, I added the garlic. The garlic was cooked until fragrant. At this point I added a 15 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes with their juices. Be sure to scrape up any tasty bits stuck to the bottom of the pan(sucs in chef speak). Let this cook for about 15-20 minutes until it starts to resemble a sauce. At this point add the andouille sausage and the shrimp. Cook until the shrimp is just cooked through.

You can serve this with some nice crusty bread, pasta, or as I did it over some cheesey grits. the cayenne peppers and the andouille sausage added a nice spiciness to the dish. The grits were the perfect counter point to the piquantness. A nice cold beer, a glass of Riesling or a Gewurztraminer pair nicely with this dish. Pop in a zydeco CD to set the N'walins mood and you'll be transported to the Big Easy.


citronetvanille said...

I love the idea of planting a cayenne plant. What does it look like? is it a tall plant? Growing herbs, and vegetables is really the best way to get the best tasting food.

John D. said...

it's only growing in a window box, so the plant is about 18" tall and slightly bushy. I have it planted with rosemary, lavender and thyme and it seems to be doing quite well.