Cooking is one of my favorite activities in the world. It's almost therapeutic to me. And when our Director of Communications came up to me after practice to let me know I would have the chance to cook in the White House kitchen with Chef Sam Kass, I was ecstatic.
When choosing the recipe I would make on my visit to the White House, I wanted to come up with something that's simple for anyone to make and features Gulf seafood. There was no better place to look than the cookbook my foundation created as a fundraiser a couple years ago. I already had the recipe in mind when I chose the honey bourbon glazed shrimp and andouille sausage skewers. The recipe was given to us by the legendary New Orleans restaurant Commander's Palace. We figured this recipe would be a great way to feature some of the amazing seafood that comes from the Gulf shores.
Spending time in the White House kitchen and meeting Sam was really cool for all of us. I've met some famous chefs in New Orleans; they are treasures of our city. To us, food is art. Emeril and John Besh, our artists. So meeting Sam Kass was kind of like meeting Picasso. The best part was that we were cooking something that's already so good, it's hard to mess up. Our shrimp, from near Houma, Louisiana, speak for themselves. So when Sam took his first bite and said, "Those are the best shrimp I've ever had," it didn't come as much of a surprise to me. I said the exact same thing the first time I had Gulf shrimp.
Seafood isn't just food in Louisiana; it's also a way of life for many. That's why it's important for us now to let people across the nation that seafood from open Gulf waters is safe to eat and certainly delicious. As a part of the New Orleans community, we, the New Orleans Saints, have to keep helping our family. So, the next time you're at a restaurant or at the store remember that you aren't just buying Gulf shrimp, you're supporting your fellow Americans. It also doesn't hurt that they may be the best shrimp you've ever eaten, just ask Sam.
Zach Strief is offensive tackle for the New Orleans Saints and founder of the Dream Big Foundation
Learn more about Gulf seafood here and make Zach's Gulf Shrimp and Andouille Skewers at home:
* 1/4 cup Creole mustard or other whole grain mustard
* 1/4 cup honey
* 2 tablespoons bourbon
* 1 teaspoon chipotle Tabasco sauce
* 1 pound large gulf shrimp peeled, deveined and tails left on
* 12 ounces andouille or other hot sausage cut to the same thickness as the shrimp
* 8 6-inch bamboo skewers (soaked in water for 30 minutes)
* 2 tablespoons 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
* 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning Prepare the spicy bourbon mustard
Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. The mustard will keep in an airtight container chilled for a week. Prepare a medium high fire on a grill or grill pan. Alternately thread the shrimp and sausage on the skewers. Rub both sides with oil and season with Creole seasoning. Place the skewers on the grill and cook for 2 minutes each side until shrimp are pink and cooked through, and sausages are browned and cooked through. Baste the skewers with the spicy bourbon mustard during the last 30 seconds of cooking. Serve immediately, passing additional spicy mustard on the side. Serves 4.