Last night at the Bulldog football reunion warm-up party, Charlie Weatherly, a former gridiron standout, demonstrated his exceptional cooking talents. He is employed part time by the MSU Foundation as a development officers for the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine, but cooking and gardening are his passions these days.
Charlie, with the help of Deandra Barnett of Macon and Ruth Daniel of Starkville, put out a spread that would beat any professional caterer I’ve ever seen. Another former jock and former Starkville resident, Charles Smith, also provided assistance to Charlie in the kitchen. Judging by the amount of shrimp they presented, they must have done an all-nighter peeling all those humongous shrimp.
When the oil spill was announced last month, Deandra anticipated the shrimp shortage. She rushed out and bought a huge supply of fresh shrimp from the Gulf. Charlie cooked it up to perfection yesterday and we inhaled it along with other delicacies you will hear about later.
He has a unique way of cooking the shrimp which you can read about below. Sadly, I fear this may be my last time to experience shrimp for a long, long time. (I avoid the bagged stuff that comes from China or Vietnam like the plague.)
Here is Charlie’s favorite shrimp sauce which he adapted from one he saw Alton Brown make on the cooking network. (It makes me smile every time I envisioned that big ex-jock sitting in his recliner on Super Bowl Sunday, watching the cooking channel.)
- 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, well drained. I prefer Red Gold Petite Diced
- 1 bottle (12 oz) jar chili sauce. Best brand is fine.
- 1 bottle (24 oz) jar of Ketchup.
- 1 lemon, strained juice from
- 8 to 10 Tbs. horseradish. I prefer Seminole brand.
- 3 tsp. sugar
- 8 grinds of black peppercorns
- 1 tsp. Kosher salt
Directions Place ingredients in a blender or food chopper and blend well. Yield 68 oz or 8 ½ cups. This amount is sufficient for at least 10 pounds of boiled shrimp. You can cut the amount in half by cutting the ingredients in half. There is a size 14 oz. of diced tomatoes.
For Broiled Shrimp- cooked under a broiler: First prepare a brine of ¼ cup Kosher salt and ¼ cup sugar Place in 1 ½ cups water and add 2 cups ice cubes. Add unpeeled shrimp to the brine and place in the refrigerator for 25 minutes. Take shrimp out of brine, rinse them then place on a paper towel for drying. When dry place in large bowl with 1 tbs. olive oil. Toss shrimp in and toss several times. Sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning. Prepare boiler pan lined with foil and place on top shelf of hot oven. Spread shrimp evenly over pan and cook for 2 minutes, remove and turn over and cook 1 minute more, no more.
BOILED SHRIMP CAJUN STYLE
5 Pounds Fresh or Frozen Shrimp
3 Gallons water in rolling boil in 5 gal pot
1 Tbs Byron’s Cajun Seasoning or 2 Tbs for more spicy. Zatarain’s is also good.
3 Lemons, cut in half, juice and peels added to water
“Scott Landry gave me this recipe at a National Agricultural Alumni & Development Association meeting in Baton Rouge in 1994,” said Charlie.
“He is chef for Byron’s Cajun Seasoning in Baton Rouge. He said he never uses the commercial shrimp boil sold in stores for boiling shrimp and always peels the shrimp before boiling. Use an ice pick to remove shells. I think he wants to promote Byron’s but he may be right on the peeling.”
Peel shrimp and boil for 1 minute in water with lemon juice and Cajun Seasoning, use 1 or 2 tablespoons according to personal taste for hot, spicy. Let water get to rolling boil. Add peeled shrimp and let come to boil again, boil for 1 minute, then remove and immediately place shrimp on ice to stop cooking. Let shrimp cool for one hour in refrigerator before serving. Serve with crackers and sauce.