This Grilled Shrimp Dinner Is the Perfect Way to Step into Spring

Chef Meg Bickford blends old and new at the iconic New Orleans restaurant Commander's Palace, and shares one of her seasonally inspired recipes.

Meg Bickford's ascensionto the throne as the first female executive chef of Commander's Palace last fall was an important milestone in the restaurant's 128-year history, but it's just another day's work for this young, collaborative chef. After 13 years with the restaurant, her culinary perspective has already been woven through the restaurant's menu of elevated Creole cuisine. For Bickford, leadership is less about her point of view and more about listening to the talented folks around her. "We have a beautiful team in the kitchen with really creative, awesome minds," Bickford says.

Grilled Gulf Shrimp with Sweet Corn Coulis
Photog by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Expect the greatest hits to stay in rotation at Commander's, but keep your eyes out for seasonally inspired creations, like this Grilled Gulf Shrimp with Sweet Corn Coulis served with a shaved spring vegetable salad. "Louisiana wild white shrimp are so supple, with beautiful natural salinity," Bickford says. She grills the shrimp along with sweet corn, which gets blended into a simple coulis with a little buttermilk and sour cream. "The grill pulls out a lot of the natural sweetness in the corn," Bickford says. "It's all about bright, celebratory spring flavors." Here are a few brilliant tricks that make this dish shine:

Look for Sweetest Peas

In general, the smaller the sweet pea, the sweeter it is. So if you're picking pea pods at the market, go for sprightly green pods that are full but not bulging (that's a sign of starchy, oversized peas).

Seek Out Gulf Shrimp

For a simple but special dish like this, you want your shrimp to shine. Take a cue from Bickford and seek out super-flavorful Gulf shrimp for this dish. Can't find them? Look for flash-frozen wild shrimp instead and thaw them overnight in the fridge before using them in the recipe.

Assemble the Salad Before You Grill

In order to enjoy the shrimp fresh off the grill, prep and assemble the salad ingredients ahead of time, tossing them with the oil, vinegar, and seasonings just before serving the dish.

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