Guest blogger Kami Rice contributed this post, the third in her series of reports from New Orleans.
Despite a trip to the hospital on Wednesday (to have a stubborn splinter cut out), chef Dorothy "Doris" Finister of Two Sisters Kitchen met us at the New Orleans School of Cooking's kitchen on Thursday afternoon to tutor us in the preparation of her signature shrimp-and-okra dish. It's one of those recipes that doesn't come with precise measurements. Which adds to its authenticity--and raises it from science to art.
From sautéing diced onions to pouring on "red gravy" (as Doris calls the tomato sauce) to adding shrimp and finally okra, Doris let us "help" make her famous dish, emphasizing the importance of cooking just long enough to keep the okra from becoming stringy and ropey. Served on white rice, the dish held up to both the scent of its advance advertising (which isn't a given when good smells waft from kitchens) and the admonition against stringy okra.
Like this shrimp-and-okra specialty, which Doris learned from her aunt, Two Sisters Kitchen is a family affair. Seventy-year-old Doris and her late husband bought it in the 1970s from the original sisters, who asked them not to change the name because "it will bring you good luck." Four of Doris' five children still work at the Fourth Ward restaurant, where any given day finds a motley crew of diners--from neighbors to tourists, from police officers to wandering journalists, from casually clad to business suits--all of whom wear the look of satisfied customers.
The recipe for for Two Sisters' Shrimp & Okra is posed after the jump.
Chef Doris Finister's Recipe for Two Sisters' Shrimp & Okra
Garlic powder (optional)
Tomato sauce (not paste)
Chop onions until they are fine, then sauté until they are cooked but not brown.
Add one whole can of traditional tomato sauce and let cook for a while.
Add shrimp, then cover sauce pan to let cook on a slow fry.
Once shrimp are cooked, add okra and Creole seasoning to the sauce pan last.
Be careful not to let okra cook too long and get "slimey" or "ropey."
Cook until you can see that the dish is done.
Serve and enjoy!