Here's what you do:
1. First, you start with a roux. Roux is a paste, made from flour and oil or butter, used to thicken and flavor Cajun stews and gumbos. You can use a couple sticks of butter — or, for a healthier (and still tasty) option, you can use a cup and a half of olive oil. Begin by melting the butter or heating the olive oil in a skillet (preferably cast iron, or some thicker metal to ensure even heating) on medium heat until it is hot enough to fry; then sift flour (about 2 cups) into the hot liquid and stir continuously with a flat-edged utensil, like a wooden mixing spatula, to make sure nothing sticks. IMPORTANT: If the roux burns, it will be ruined, so watch your heat carefully and take your time. For this dish, we're making a "peanut-butter" roux, which is a lighter roux with a less bitter flavor for delicate things like seafood. So continue stirring the paste until it is the color of peanut butter or slightly darker.
If the paste seems too thick, add a little more oil or butter; if it seems too runny, you can add more flour, but once it cools, the flour will settle and you can pour off the excess oil.
2. Next, in a medium-sized cast-iron pot — or other roasting pot with lid — heat a half-cup of olive oil and sautee the onions, bell peppers, garlic and jalapenos until translucent. Keep the heat high during this step so that the vegetables are tempted to stick rather than cook down and give off water. When they start to stick, you can pour a glug or two (I'm lobbying to have "glug" added to the culinary dictionary as a valid quantity) to deglaze any sticky stuff, and also to help caramelize the veggies.
3. When the veggies are cooked, add tomatoes and enough water to fill the pot halfway. Once the water begins to boil, add roux gradually (it will take a few minutes to dissolve), and stir to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom. The sauce should be thicker, but not too thick, and you shouldn't be able to see through the liquid when you spoon some out.
4. Add seasoning until it tastes right to you. Roux can make a sauce want a good bit of salt, but it's all about it tasting right to you. Keep simmering while you season your shrimp.
5. Spread shrimp out in a single layer in a pan and season with the "Holy Trinity"; mix around. This will give the right amount of seasoning for the sauce once you add the shrimp.
6. Cut your green onions and parsley, and cook rice or pasta.
7. Bring the sauce to a good boil and add the shrimp, stir in, and cover. Once it starts to boil again, uncover and stir. Reduce heat to medium and add green onions and parsley, stir, and simmer for 10 or 15 minutes — or until shrimp are firm and tender, but not rubbery or chewy.
8. Serve over rice or pasta, garnish with green onions and parsley, and enjoy!
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