Shrimp Creole

from The New Southern Cook

From New Orleans and Charleston, this dish has spread throughout the country as one of the hallmarks of southern cooking. While similar dishes are served over pasta in the Mediterranean, the heritage of this rice dish is purely Caribbean.

1½ cups raw white rice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)
½ cup chopped bell pepper (about ½ large)
½ cup chopped celery (1 large rib)
1 small jalapeño, seeded, deribbed, and chopped
1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs such as herbes de Provence or Italian seasoning, crushed
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 cups (about 7 average) tomatoes, peeled and chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1½ pounds fresh shrimp, peeled
freshly squeezed lemon juice

Cook the rice Charleston style, so that each grain stands separately ( see recipe ) while you prepare the Creole:

In a large skillet or sauté pan, warm the olive oil over medium high heat and add the onion, peppers, celery, herbs, and garlic. Cook until the vegetables are soft and the onion is translucent, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and continue to cook until all the flavors are well-mingled and most of the juice from the tomatoes has cooked away, about 10 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust the seasonings. Add the shrimp and toss them well with the mixture, and cook until the shrimp are just cooked through. They should take no longer than five minutes. Do NOT overcook the shrimp. Taste again for seasoning, sprinkling with a little lemon juice if necessary. Serve immediately over hot white rice.

Serves 4.