Falling for Fricassee

A simple yet elegant celebration of summer from Vishwesh Bhatt

Photo: Angie Mosier

Fricassee is a cross between a quick sauté and long stewing. The most common fricassee you might have heard of is the classic French chicken fricassee. As the French colonized the Caribbean and parts of what is now the American South, such as New Orleans, the fricassee method was adapted to suit local ingredients. Here, shrimp takes the place of chicken for a dish that’s a bit lighter and comes together more quickly. This particular recipe is inspired by a dish my friend Nina Compton served us for dinner one night at her New Orleans restaurant Compère Lapin, where the menu draws on culinary influences from her native Saint Lucia. Seafood with some sweetness to it, whether shrimp, crab, or lobster, pairs beautifully with corn. And corn, in turn, plays beautifully with summer squash when both are in season. So my adaptation of Nina’s shrimp fricassee becomes a celebration of peak summer produce.

You’ll see that the recipe calls for habanero pepper. Although habaneros can be extremely hot, they add a beautiful floral note to the finished dish. (If you were to substitute a different pepper, you’d lose that element.) Depending on your preference for heat, you may want to remove some or all of the habanero’s seeds to temper the fire. Be sure to wash your hands, knife, and cutting board after handling the habanero.

This is a weeknight-​friendly supper paired with simple steamed rice or grits. —Excerpted from I Am From Here: Stories and Recipes from a Southern Chef by Vishwesh Bhatt.

Read our interview with Bhatt from the August/September 2022 issue of G&G.


  • SHRIMP, CORN, AND SUMMER FRICASSEE (Yield: 4 servings)

    • 1 lb. domestic shrimp (16/20)

    • 2 tbsp. olive oil

    • 2 bunches scallions, sliced, whites and greens separated

    • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

    • 2 bay leaves

    • 1½ cups fresh corn kernels (from about 2 ears)

    • 1 to 2 habanero peppers, seeded and minced

    • 1 lb. summer squash, diced small (about 1½ cups)

    • 1 tomato, diced (about ¾ cup)

    • 2 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves

    • 3 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-​leaf parsley

    • ½ cup dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc or Chablis

    • Juice of 1 lemon

    • 2 tsp. salt

    • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

    • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter


  1. Prepare the shrimp: Using kitchen shears or scissors, cut along the back of each shrimp, through the shell and just deep enough into the flesh to expose the vein. Remove the shells and veins, reserving about one-​quarter of the shells to make the shrimp stock. Rinse the shrimp under cold running water. Pat dry.

  2. Make the stock: Place the shrimp shells in a saucepan over medium-​high heat and toast them until they turn opaque and become fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the volume is reduced by about half. Strain and discard the shells. Measure out ½ cup of the stock and set aside.

  3. Make the fricassee: Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or other wide, heavy-​bottomed pot over medium-​high heat. When it begins to shimmer, add the scallion whites, garlic, and bay leaves and cook until the scallions are just soft, about 3 minutes. Add the corn and cook for another minute. Add the shrimp, habanero, and shrimp stock and cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes. The shrimp will begin to curl. Stir in the squash, tomato, thyme, parsley, wine, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Cook for an additional minute, or until the shrimp are opaque. Add the butter and stir vigorously until it melts into the liquid in the pot and makes a creamy sauce.

  4. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the scallion greens. Serve immediately.

Excerpted from I Am From Here: Stories and Recipes from a Southern Chef by Vishwesh Bhatt. Copyright © 2022 by Vishwesh Bhatt. Used with permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.