Ric Orlando's Original Purple Haze Shrimp

Ric Orlando’s original “Purple Haze Shrimp”

Ok, so this dish comes with a lot of lore and just as much BS. It is hot? You bet? Is is painful…well, a little. But is it balanced? Totally. This is the perfect example of what West Indian spice should be. Like Trinidad’s inimitable Matouks brand hot sauce, this dish puts you on the edge, but keeps you coming back for more. The best analogy is this: it’s an unusually hot May day. All the kids are splashing about in the swimming hole. You jump in too. And the water if frigging FREEZIN! What now? If you jump out you’ll be doomed to a day shivering on the shore, but if you stay in and get used to it, you’ll have a great fun day and maybe some new adventures!  A good deep hot dish is the same. Stay in and experience what a good mind bending meal is about!  

The name Purple Haze was inspired by guitar legend and journalist Matte Henderson, who walked right in to the original New World Kitchen on Zena Road and explained to Ric that his shrimp appetizer was making him “trip balls”. He then vocalized the guitar intro to Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix.
At the time the dish was made with papaya and mango, not red cabbage. That is when the inspiration for Purple Haze came in.  Make it purple. Try everything. Beets? No, too dirty tasting. Blueberries?…nope, too “blue” fruity. Black berries, nah…too tart. And it occurred to me that cabbage would be perfect. It has plenty of cellulose which assists in digesting the capsicum from the habaneros and will cook out very purple! So that is it.
Enjoy your trip.

Purple Haze Shrimp
Serves 4 as a side, snack, app or light meal with plenty of leftover sauce.
16 16-20 or u-15 GULF shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact.
3 oz unsalted butter
12 ounces pineapple juice
4-5 habanero chiles, or 6-7 scotch bonnets stemmed, seeds intact
1 cup red cabbage, shredded
1/4 cup red onion, diced
2 teaspoons ginger, dry
1  teaspoons thyme, fresh, divided
4 ounces cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup pineapple, diced
3 scallions, sliced

To make the sauce.
Put the habaneros, cabbage and onions in a food processor and pulse to chop everything very fine.
Put this mix in a non reactive pot with the pineapple juice, vinegar, ginger, cornstarch, brown sugar, salt and half of the thyme. Bring to a boil then simmer 15 minutes to concentrate the flavors. This is the Purple Haze sauce. Cool and jar it up. It will last, refrigerated for up to one month or more.
To make the dish, use a heavy skillet.
Melt half the butter and then arrange the shrimp in an even layer in the pan. Cook over medium high heat until the shrimp begin to caramelize on one side. You want them golden brown

Turn the shrimp over and add about 6 oz of sauce. Bring to a boil, then add the rest of the butter. and swirl to melt it in. Spoon our 4 shrimp per person, smothered in sauce.
Garnish wit fresh pineapple, scallions and sprinkle with the remaining thyme!

Enjoy with beer, a fruity cocktail or a glass of cold white wine like the Finger Lakes riesling in the picture. Don’t do red wine!!! It will make the peppers hotter and will also make the cabbage bitter

Ric Orlando's Peppered Shrimp

In NOLA these are just called BBQ shrimp or maybe Pan BBQ Shrimp.
I’ve tried some really good renditions while in Louisiana but, as you expected, my recipe is better than most. Or at least that is what I’ve been told by many Louisiana natives. Why? Because I worked at it, tasting as many versions as I can and distilling the recipe down to what makes the better ones memorable.  This version is not for tourists…it is derived from older home recipes I encountered, which put a big emphasis on the black pepper flavor.  These have been on my menus since my very first executive chef job at Justins in 1989, and I have always been proud to serve such an unabashedly messy and spicy dish to my guests. I guess it has kind of defined my style.
Serves 4
The BUTTER Sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup coarsely ground black pepper
3 tbls dry rosemary
1 tbls dry basil
2 tbls dry oregano
1/2 lbs unsalted butter
1/2 cup shrimp stock or canned clam juice
1 tablespoon minced
1 tbls salt (adjust according to what stock you use)
1-2 tsp cayenne
1 tbls paprika
I baguette for sopping up the sauce
16 nice sized (16-20 or u-15) GULF shrimp, Shell on but deviened
chopped scallions for garnish

To Make the “Butter Sauce”
Put the lemon juice, peppers and dried herbs in a blender.
Then add the garlic, salt, cayenne and paprika to make a paste.
In a heavy sauce pot melt the butter and the stock together.  Then add ground spice paste to butter mix (using a rubber spatula to get it all).  Simmer over low heat, stirring frequently until mixture is a mahogany color.  Store in steel or glass container so you can remelt when needed.
Lasts refrigerated for up to one month.

To make the dish
Use a heavy skillet. Add about 2-3 oz Butter sauce per person.
Warm the sauce and add 3-4 shrimp per person. Cook the shrimp for about one minute, turn and finish cooking them right in the butter.
Use a slotted spoon to arrange the shrimp on a warm plate, pour over the sauce and serve crusty baguette on the side for dipping.

Ric Orlando's Not Quite Ibarra Chocolate Cake

Ric’s Not Quite Ibarra Chocolate Cake
Ok so this cake is delish, but does not have the Mexican Ibarra chocolate in it. It has the components of Ibarra chocolate, which is fine by me!
Makes a 9 inch round cake.
Preheat oven to 325
1 tbls cinnamon
small pinch ground cloves
1 tsp red chile powder
zest of two oranges
4 tbls bittersweet chocolate, minced
1 1/2 cups peeled almonds, toasted and grind to a fine powder
4 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar, divided
2 tbls fresh orange juice
Patron Citronage, Gran Marnier or triple sec
Grease, flour, paper and grease your cake pan.
Combine the cinnamon, clove, chile powder,orange zest, chocolate and almonds in a mixing bowl.
Beat the yolks with 1/4 cup of the sugar and orange juice until smooth and shiny.
In another bowl beat the whites to soft peaks while gradually adding in the sugar. Now combine the yolk mix with the chocolate-almond mix. 
Carefully add half of the whipped the whipped whites. When incorporated add the other half.
Spread into the cake pan and bake 35-40 minutes or until the cake pulls away from  the sides.
When cool, paint with the orange liqueur.

Chocolate Glaze
10 tbls bittersweet chocolate
1 tbls unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup softened butter
1 tbls agave syrup or Karo corn syrup*
1 tablespoon water
Put everything except 1/4 cup of the butter in a double boiler and stir gently until just melted.
Remove from heat and stir in the remaining soft butter, Let cool a few minutes then pour over the cake.
*Karo is NOT high fructose corn syrup, fyi

Garnish with cocoa whipped cream and orange supremes