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Prep 30 mins
Cook 10 mins
An appetizing first course from the flavor center of the universe, Louisiana. Courtesy of Chef Jamie Shannon of Commander's Palace, featured in The Louisiana New Garde television series. Tasso ham is a specialty of Cajun cuisine and is a spicy, peppery version of smoked pork made from the shoulder butt.
- 8 ounces tasso, cut into 32 matchsticks
- 30 shrimp (jumbo, peeled, deveined and butterflied)
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups flour
- vegetable oil, for frying (about 8 cups)
- 1 leaf lettuce leaf, for garnish (optional)
- 1 1⁄2 cups white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3⁄4 cup corn syrup
- 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
- 1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Crystal Butter Sauce
- 1⁄2 cup hot sauce (Crystal brand preferred but any Louisiana hot sauce will do)
- 1⁄2 cup dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio)
- 1⁄2 tablespoon shallot, peeled and minced
- 1⁄4 tablespoon garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 cups unsalted butter
- For the pepper jelly: Combine the vinegars and corn syrup in a large saucepan and bring to the boil.
- Reduce heat to a slow boil and cook until liquid is reduced by half (about 15 minutes).
- Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for ten minutes; remove from heat and let cool.
- For the butter sauce: Combine the first four ingredients together in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until mixture is reduced by half; let cool to warm.
- Slowly add the butter, about 1/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly.
- The key to the sauce is to keep it warm (not hot) at all times.
- Preheat oil in a large saucepan or a fryer to 350°F.
- Place a piece of tasso inside the slitted shrimp and secure with a toothpick.
- Beat eggs and milk together until well blended.
- Dip each shrimp into liquid then dredge with flour.
- Deep-fry shrimp in batches about 4 minutes or until golden.
- Remove and drain on absorbent paper.
- To assemble: Arrange 1/4 cup of pepper jelly on warm salad plate;.
- Dip shrimp into warm butter sauce to coat evenly.
- Place five shrimp on each plate in an attractive fashion and garnish with a bit of green lettuce.