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I normally associate comfort food with cooler days. But when I ran across this recipe for smothered okra and tomatoes with shrimp and andouille in a recent issue of Louisiana Kitchen Culture I had to make it. Even though it was a hot day, it so hit the spot that I found myself unable to stop eating it. The sauce is really the star. It’s a wonderful mix of roasted okra, tomatoes, onions and peppers and my favorite, andouille sausage. Add in shrimp and you’ve got something truly delicious.
The key to making smothered okra and tomatoes with shrimp and andouille is the tomatoes. The recipe called for San Marzano tomatoes, and I didn’t stray from the suggestion. They have less seeds than regular plum tomatoes and are far less acidic. The flesh of San Marzano tomatoes is also thicker, making for a sauce that is definitely not runny. It’s perfect. If I could bottle the sauce for this dish I would. I could retire on a beach somewhere. As long as I could get okra on the beach and still make this every week, that is.
My okra and tomatoes is a slight variation on this same recipe but without the shrimp and andouille.
Smothered Okra and Tomatoes with Shrimp and Andouille
- ½ cup water
- kosher salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 pound shrimp medium-sized, raw , peeled, deveined
- 1 pound okra fresh (or frozen, thawed), sliced
- Creole seasoning to taste
- Olive oil to taste
- 1 cup sweet onion finely chopped
- 1 cup green bell pepper finely chopped
- 4 ounces Andouille sausage diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 28 ounce whole stewed tomatoes San Marzano are best
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried red pepper flake or more, to taste
- 1 dash fish sauce
- 2 green onions sliced, for garnish
- rice cooked
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Whisk together the water, salt and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Refrigerate for 1 hour, tossing every 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toss the okra with a good amount of Creole seasoning and some oil. Spread out onto a baking sheet and roast 30 minutes, turning once, until starting to brown. Remove.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and sausage and cook until the onions and pepper start to soften, about 10 minutes. Note: If using pre-cooked andouille, cook the vegetables for 8 minutes then add the sausage to brown.
- Add the garlic. .Stir and saute for 2 more minutes.
- Stir in the tomato paste until it dissolves.
- Pour the tomatoes and their juices into a large bowl. Squeeze them through your fingers to shred, removing any hard cores. Pour into the saucepan and stir
- Add the bay leaves, lemon juice, garlic powder, oregano, pepper, and red pepper flake. Stir. If too thick add a bit of water but not too much. You want the sauce to be somewhat thick.
- Bring to a simmer and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Stir in the okra and a splash or two of the fish sauce.
- Add the shrimp AND the brine it was in and stir. Saute another 5 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and done.
- Serve hot over rice garnished with green onions.
Nutritional values are approximate.