Saturday, July 18, 2009


I love shrimp. There isn't a single summer ingredient that conjures more visions of perfect, beachy days than tender, ocean-salted shrimp. I like them pretty minimally prepared. Boiled in Old Bay and doused with a squeeze of lemon is good enough for me. When I ventured to our Chevron shrimp hut (that's not actually the name of the establishment, it's just adjacent to a gas station), I was overjoyed to discover they carried head-on shrimp, for only $5.99 a pound. I know, I know, shrimp heads aren't much to look at, and a bit unappetizing to eat, googly eyes, antennae and all; however, if you've ever had BBQ shrimp in New Orleans, you know what I'm getting at. Baked in an amazing sauce of staggering amounts of butter, along with lemon, herbs, spices, and other delicious things, these shrimp make you "want to slap yo mamma." Don't ask me why, it's just a saying.
Getting back on track, I bought two pounds of head-on shrimp for what seemed like pennies, and got to work trying to recreate this Big Easy masterpiece. First I sauteed some onion and garlic in a lot of butter. I mean, a lot. I actually found a recipe for BBQ Shrimp and felt compelled to cut the butter in half to avoid having a heart attack at 26. Read on.

Pretty Darn Good BBQ Shrimp

1 stick butter
1/2 cup olive oil
2 lbs raw unpeeled shrimp, heads on
1/4 cup chopped basil
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
black pepper
lots of crusty French bread

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease large baking dish. Melt butter and olive oil in large skillet. Add all ingredients except for shrimp and bread. Bring sauce to light boil. Put shrimp in baking dish and pour sauce over. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until shrimp are pink and curled. DO NOT OVERCOOK. Watch carefully, pick a shrimp and cut open to make sure it is not translucent. Serve in individual bowls with lots of bread to soak up the flavorful sauce.

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