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Then I decided to do a search on the term. Apparently the dish I have been calling shrimp en brochette for at least 15 years is only somewhat related. En brochette is French for food that is cooked and possibly served on a skewer. Generally that means grilled. And in the case of shrimp, at least here in the United States, it is accompanied by bacon, jalapeño pepper and cheese.

There was a little restaurant in Oklahoma City in the early ’90s called Pearl’s and they served up New Orleans style food and music. On our working part-time through college budgets we still managed to go a few times and enjoy their gumbo and shrimp en brochette. Here’s my home-cooked version of what Pearl’s called shrimp en brochette.

shrimp en brochette breaded with cornmeal and fried

Pearl’s Shrimp en Brochette (for 4 – 6)

20 large uncooked shrimp, peeled and cleaned
20 1/2″ cubes of a sharp cheese such as cheddar
thin sliced bacon cut into 1/2 or 1/3 strips, whatever will fit around your shrimp

I put the cheese in the middle of the curled shrimp and then wrap the bacon around and fix with a toothpick. You can also butterfly the shrimp and insert sliced cheese. Some recipes also call for a little strip of jalepeño with the cheese. I’ve never tried that and I don’t recall that Pearl’s put it inside either.

how to make shrimp en brochette battered with cornmeal and fried

Prepare one bowl with a beaten egg and a bowl with about 1 cup cornmeal, 1/2 cup grated parmesan, salt and pepper. Coat your skewered shrimp first in the beaten egg and then in the cornmeal mixture.

Heat oil in a deep skillet or dutch oven. Oil should be hot enough to make a dry chopstick release air bubbles. Have a metal rack or paper toweled plate ready. Lower the coated shrimp into the hot oil. It will only take a minute or two to fry to a nice golden brown. Remove to rack and allow to cool a bit before serving. Make sure to remove the toothpicks or at least warn your guests to do so!

Pearl’s served these with a cherry horseradish sauce which I’ve never tried to make, but I would guess it was similar to basic cocktail sauce but with puréed cherries and possibly tiny diced jalepeño, instead of ketchup or in addition to ketchup.

This is really too rich to eat as an entrée but it makes a tasty appetizer or a light addition to rice or a large salad.