Note: This dish is prepared only 2 servings at a time because increasing the number of shrimp beyond 12 would require increasing the dish's amount of sauce. Reducing the larger amount of sauce would require more cooking time, resulting in over-cooked shrimp.
12 raw colossal shrimp,*unpeeled, with heads and tails left on
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1.5 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper**
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning [recipe below]
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
1-3 tablespoons Abita beer, divided [water can be substituted]
1/2 lemon, seeded
1/4 pound butter, cold and unsalted [preferably Plugra or other European-style butter], cut into .5-inch cubes
French Bread, warm and crusty for serving [Leidenheimer French Bread recommended]
*If colossal shrimp are not available, use the largest you can find.
**To coarse-grind the peppercorns, use a blender or peppermill. The grind is important to the taste of the finished dish.
Place the unpeeled shrimp, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, Creole seasoning, garlic, and 1 tablespoon beer (or water) in a heavy 10-inch, stainless-steel sauté pan. Squeeze the juice from the lemon half over the shrimp and add the rind and pulp to the pan. Over high heat, cook the shrimp while gently stirring and occasionally turning the shrimp. After about 2 minutes of cooking, the shrimp should start turning pink on both sides, indicating they are nearly half cooked. If the shrimp are the colossal size, add additional 2 tablespoons beer (or water) to the pan; otherwise, don't add water.
Reduce the heat to medium-high and continue cooking as you gradually add the cold pieces of butter to the pan. While turning the shrimp occasionally, swirl the butter pieces until they are incorporated into the pan juices, the sauce turns light brown and creamy as it simmers, and the shrimp are just cooked through. This will take about 2 minutes total if the shrimp are extra-large, and about 3 minutes total if they're colossal. Do not overcook the shrimp.
Serving suggestion: Pour the shrimp and sauce into a heated pasta bowl with the lemon-half turned cut-side down, in the center. Serve the shrimp and sauce immediately, alongside slices of warm, crusty French bread for sopping up the sauce.
Yields: 1 scant cup
.5 cup sweet paprika
.25 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
Thoroughly combine all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Place the mixture in an airtight container and store in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months.
Recipe provided by Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group.
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