LOUISIANA BARBECUED SHRIMP is that sort of magical dish that’s intensely flavorful, quick to cook, and perfect for sharing—all you need to do is spend a few minutes revving at the spice drawer first. Despite the name, the recipe isn’t cooked on a barbecue but simmered straight in a spicy-bright pan sauce. As Toni Tipton-Martin explains in her book Jubilee, drawn from her collection of nearly 400 African American cookbooks, “‘Barbecue shrimp’ is just the name Louisiana Creole cooks assigned to shrimp braised in wine, beer, or a garlic butter sauce.” This one is Toni’s favorite version, based on one from the late model/chef/restaurateur B. Smith.
Sometimes, Toni doesn’t even wait to get the shrimp out of the pan, serving it in the kitchen as an appetizer, right in the skillet it’s cooked in, with lots of hot crusty bread to get every bit of sauce. No more than 10 minutes have passed.
SERVES 2 TO 4
1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne
1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme
1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1⁄4 teaspoon paprika
2 dried bay leaves, broken into large pieces
1⁄4 cup (60g) unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1⁄4 cup (60ml) white wine
1⁄2 cup (120ml) fish or chicken stock
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 pound (450g) shell-on shrimp
2 tablespoons minced
Hot crusty French bread, for serving*
1 get prepped: In a small bowl, combine the cayenne, thyme, oregano, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, paprika, and bay leaves. Gather the rest of your ingredients near the stove.
2 make the sauce: In a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter until sizzling. Add the garlic, spices, wine, stock, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce is thick enough to lightly coat a spoon (if you dip the spoon in the sauce, let it cool briefly, then swipe your finger across the back of the spoon; it should leave a trail, 5 to 7 minutes. Instead of stirring, shake the pan gently as it cooks to help bring the sauce together.
3 simmer the shrimp: Add the shrimp, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the shrimp turn pink and firm, turning once with tongs or a spatula, 3 to 5 minutes.
4 eat: Sprinkle the shrimp with parsley and serve immediately in shallow bowls or directly from the skillet with hot French bread to swipe up the sauce. Peel the shrimp with your hands and eat. (Pros would recommend sucking the sauce off the shrimp before peeling.)
Great with: A cold beer or iced tea.
*Ready Your Bread To have your bread good and hot when your shrimp are done, heat the oven to 300°F (150°C) before you start cooking, then pop in your loaf on a sheet pan for 5 to 10 minutes. If it’s a little stale, quickly wet just the crust under running water first.
“Reprinted with permission from Food52 Simply Genius: Recipes for Beginners, Busy Cooks & Curious People by Kristen Miglore, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.”
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