© Stephanie Meyer
Twenty-four years ago I had a meal at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, and met the chef, Jamie Shannon. He was an amazing chef and a brilliant talent. Despite his New Jersey origins, he reinvented himself as a son of the South. His Commander’s Palace cookbook is one of my favorites.
I became friendly with Jamie and eventually shared some time with him away from the restaurant. Once on a fishing trip, he made a version of these shrimp-and-ham kebabs, a true signature of his, and I went bonkers for them. They are irresistible. His version was made with his own cured tasso ham and house-made pepper jelly. I got a chance to make them with him at Stone Crab Festival in Longboat Key. The marriage of shellfish and pork is well documented, but the natural gift for making food magical is never talked about enough.
Jamie died of a brain tumor more than a decade ago, and I think of him all the time. We were close in a way that you get with someone you really connect with but don’t see enough.