Along with warm pigs in a blanket, a cream cheese block swaddled with pepper jelly, and coolers packed deep with beer, you’ll find a wide array of dips among Colleen Quarls’s party spreads. “I’m a dip girl,” says the chef de cuisine at New Orleans’s funky breakfast joint Molly’s Rise and Shine. “Seven-layer, spinach and artichoke, Velveeta-and- Ro-Tel … I like anything you can eat with your hands, so you can move around and talk to everybody.”
The crowning achievement in her dips repertoire, though, is her Spicy Louisiana Shrimp Dip, which she’s served for gatherings, Saints games, and even as a special at the restaurant a time or two. Her one-two punch for maximum flavor: Boiling and chilling half of the shrimp in a Cajun-spice-scented liquid, and sautéing the other half with even more spice. “Using ice-cold boil liquid [to shock the shrimp] doesn’t dilute the flavor like water would,” Quarls says. Then, once she’s buzzed the chilled boiled shrimp with the holy trinity of vegetables (onion, celery, and bell pepper), mayo, cream cheese, Crystal, and cayenne in a food processor, Quarls roughly chops the sautéed batch to stir into the mix. “You want shrimp in every bite,” she says.