Stuffed Shrimp Viala

Prep Time: 1 Hour
Yields: 6 Servings

This unique shrimp presentation was created at Lafitte's Landing Restaurant for use during the height of shrimp season. The dish was named in honor of J. P. Viala, builder of Viala Plantation, the original home of the restaurant.


3 dozen (10-12 count) head-on shrimp
1 pound crawfish, finely chopped
1 cup melted butter, divided
1/2 cup minced onions 
1/4 cup minced celery
1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
2 tbsps minced garlic
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tsp fresh chopped tarragon
1 tbsp Creole mustard
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
salt and cracked black pepper to taste
granulated garlic to taste
3/4 cup seasoned Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup dry sherry
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place shrimp right side up on cutting board. Using a sharp paring knife, cut through the tail shell from the top of the tail to the bottom of the flipper, making sure not to separate head from tail. Using your thumbs, open the tail flat, remove the vein and gently pry the meat away from the shell, leaving it intact at the head. Set aside. In a sauté pan, heat 1/2 cup melted butter over medium-high heat. Saute  onions, celery, bell pepper, minced garlic and green onions,  3-5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Add crawfish tails, blending well into the vegetable mixture. Add basil, tarragon and Creole mustard, blend in and cook 2 additional minutes. Add heavy whipping cream, bring to a low boil, reduce to simmer and cook 2-3 minutes. Season mixture to taste using salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Pour crawfish mixture into a bowl then add bread crumbs, a little at a time, until all is incorporated. Allow to cool slightly. When cool enough to work, stuff tail of each shrimp with equal portion of crawfish stuffing. Place stuffed shrimp on a large baking sheet and drizzle with remaining melted butter and sherry. Pour water into the bottom of the baking pan and place on center oven rack. Bake until stuffing is golden brown, approximately 15-20 minutes.