Monday, February 18, 2008

Broiled shrimp

I actually think the name of this recipe should be Wintertime Shrimp because Byron's reaction to "do you wanna come over and eat shrimp?" was something like "Shrimp? What? It's February! Shrimp are for summertime!" Hopefully he was convinced and maybe these will be the kind of shrimp you can see yourself consuming in the depths of winter (actually it was, like, 65 degrees out, so it's not actually all that cold). Unlike the shrimp Byron was thinking of, these aren't cooked up with potatoes, corn and sausage like a low country boil. They're still in the shell so you must peel-and-eat, which makes for a fun communal meal (actually, Josh LeF. described it as "primal" so maybe that's it). Also, all the stuff you broil the shrimp in makes an amazing buttery sauce to dip bread into and that might be the best part of all.

I got about 4 pounds of shrimp for 6 people. I bought 2 pounds of the 21/25 counts and 2 pounds of the 26/30 counts. I probably would have gotten all of the bigger size (easier to peel) but they were running out. 4 pounds of shrimp in these sizes will require the use of 2 baking pans (the jelly roll style cookie sheets with a lip on the edges) and you'll probably have to do them in 2 batches in your broiler. Obviously, if you have fewer people and only do 2 pounds, you can fit it all on one sheet and make them in one batch. Wash your shrimp really well and spread them out on your baking sheets. Drizzle each batch with 1/4 cup olive oil, then get your black pepper grinder and grind pepper all over them. Like ALOT of pepper, just keep grinding and grinding until they are liberally covered in a blanket of pepper. Sprinkle salt over the top,probably 2 teaspoons per sheet of shrimp. Then pour about ½ cup of Worcestershire sauce over each batch. Squeeze the juice from 3 lemons over each batch (a total of 6 lemons for 2 batches). Cut about 3 sticks of butter into chunks and dot the shrimp with the butter pieces so that you have at least 1 ½ sticks of butter per batch. OK, so you have shrimp, black pepper, a little salt, worcestershire, lemon, and butter. Now stick it under the broiler for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cover your table or wherever you'll be eating in newspaper and get out a bowl to put empty shells into. When the shrimp are done, haul them out of the broiler (if you're making two batches, stick the second one in now) and pour the shrimp and all the delicious sauce that has formed beneath them into a large bowl. Make sure you have one or two loaves of good crusty french bread to dip in the sauce, try to stick it in the oven to heat up ahead of time. Call your friends over and begin to eat. You'll probably burn your fingers but it is worth it.

The only accompaniment these delicious shrimp need, besides the bread, might be a good green salad. I had beautiful lettuce from the Morningside farmer's market, with watermelon radishes, cucumbers and a hazelnut oil-champagne vinegar dressing. We had discussed ahead of time that Abita beer is proabably the most delicious libation for shrimp, so we had those and Jeremy also brought a really nice pinot noir. And we drank a bunch of other red wine because that is how I roll, no matter what I am eating for dinner. Unfortunately, you will probably not be able to replicate the awesomeness of having Sara as one of your shrimp eating guests. She brought the most amazing chocolate bundt cake and it was ridiculously good.


ariane reeves said...

ok, this is new orleans bbq shrimp. laissez le bon temps roulez, cher! i know it was super yummy and a mess of fun - ariane

carla said...

yes, exactly! I was going to call it "bbq shrimp" but I didn't want to confuse my northern peeps.