Thursday, December 4, 2008

Essential Essence

I can remember passing on several of Emeril's recipes because they included his so called "Emeril's Essence" and I didn't feel like mixing all of the ingredients needed to prepare this eponymous spice combo. From what I understand he also sells it perfectly branded in the supermarket but I was never able to find this particular product either. So one day I bit the bullet and got out the eight magical spices needed to make this perfectly blended mix. And boy am I glad I did. Since that fateful day I have made several of his recipes using his "essence" and they are always perfectly seasoned. It is definitely a spicy mix and adds quite a kick. In addition, it also gives dishes a restaurant quality because of the depth of the flavors offered in the spice mix. Now that I have a big bag of this spicy pixie dust sitting in my pantry it is easy to just grab it and measure from it like any other spice jar. Trust me -make it just once and you will get several enjoyable dishes out of it that are well worth the 3 minutes it takes to measure the exact amounts of the eight common spices.

Shrimp and Pasta in a Tomato-Chile Cream Sauce
Modified from an Emeril Lagasse Recipe

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 pound linguine
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons Essence, recipe in link (I used 1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (I used 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped jalapeno
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 11/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes ( I used canned diced tomatoes to save time)
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking water
  • 1 cup grated Pepper Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves (I omitted the basil)

Set a large 1-gallon stock pot of water to a boil and add the kosher salt. Place the linguine in the pot and stir the pot until the water returns to a boil. Cook the pasta until tender, but with a bit of resistance (al dente), about 12 minutes. Drain a reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.

While the pasta cooks, prepare the sauce. Set a 12-inch saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and olive oil to the pan. Once the butter has melted, season the shrimp with 1 tablespoon of the Essence and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and add the shrimp to the pan. Sear the shrimp until well browned on both sides, about 2 minutes.

Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the onions and jalapenos to the pan and saute until the onions are softened and lightly caramelized, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the garlic to the pan and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the cream, remaining 1 tablespoon (I used 1/2 tablespoon) of Essence, remaining 1 1/4 (I used 3/4) teaspoons of the salt and the pepper to the pan

and bring to a boil.

Cook the sauce until the cream is reduced by half, about 2 minutes.

Return the shrimp to the pan, and add the tomatoes, linguine and the reserved cooking water to the pan and cook, tossing to incorporate for 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove pan from the heat and add the Pepper Jack, Parmesan, parsley and basil and toss to blend.

Serve immediately.

This pasta was amazing! The cup of tomatoes added a beautiful blush color to the pasta sauce and the heat of the essence, jalapenos and the pepper jack all worked together wonderfully. It was a very spicy dish - definitely not for the faint of heart, but perfect for a cold winter night to warm you up!


Gabriela said...

I can almost taste this dish. Or maybe I'm only willing my tastebuds to imagine the "essence" of your creation. Yes, you can bet your recipe has been added to DH's library.

MaryBeth said...

OMG....This looks freaking fabulous.

GravissFamily said...

Wow. That looks mouth watering. have you given up on low-fat cooking?

Tricia said...

This looks absolutely incredible! I starred it in my google reader and will definitely be making it in the future! I think everyone needs an indulgent dish every now and then. Nicely done!

Joelen said...

This looks so delicious - yum! I love the colors and presentation.... great job!

RLBerry said...

This looks so amazing. Definitely need to make this - soon!

Angie said...

That looks so good. I love using the Essence. Everything comes out fabulous.

gaga said...

Yum, that looks awesome! I'm gonna have to try out this essence stuff =)

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

I was skeptical of Emeril's "essence": (1) I thought it was a strange name for a spice mi; (2) I was taken aback at how everything he cooks has to have this "essence."

Now I know the spice mix actually works. Thanks.

Stephanie said...

This looks amazing!

Maryanna said...

I'm saving this recipe to make. It looks amazing.