Sunday, April 10, 2011

New Orleans BBQ Shrimp

BBQ shrimp.  I don't know where the name originates, because there's not much "BBQ" about it.  But . . . what's in a name?
I suspect a few mouthfuls of this dish will distract you from any preconceived notions about BBQ.  It's too good to question. 
Despite being served at nice and not-so-nice joints around New Orleans, there is no neat way to consume these shrimp.  I wear a poncho, and I enjoy them thoroughly. This recipe is also a great excuse consume a whole baguette on your own, sopping up this tasty sauce.  Gluttonous I know, but it's certainly in the spirit of New Orleans.

BBQ Shrimp

2-3 lbs. Shrimp, preferably with the head on

8 oz. unsalted butter.
2 tbsps black pepper, freshly ground
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 bunch scallions, roots and the final few inches of green removed
5 cloves garlic

1/4 cup worchestershire sauce
3/4 cup beer (1/2 a can or bottle) medium bodied ale - nothing too bitter
2 lemons, quartered
1 bunch parsley, roughly chopped

1.  In a food processor, combine the butter, black pepper, paprika, thyme, cayenne, scallions and garlic.  Buzz until mixed very well - the final product should be a semi-smooth compound butter.  You will probably need to scrap down the sides a few times.
2.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  (if you don't have at least a 14" skillet you might need to do this part in two rounds.  You could use a wok as well.)

3. Add the compound butter, worchstershire sauce, beer and a hefty pinch of salt. Stir to combine.
4.  Once the butter is mostly melted drop in your shrimp simmer, stirring occasionally.  Swish the pan in a back and forth motion to keep the sauce from breaking - the goal being a smooth consistent sauce.
5. Once, the shrimp have taken on a uniform pink color (5-7 min.) squeeze in the lemons and drop them into the sauce.
6. Throw in the parsley and toss the whole thing one last time to combine.  Peel, eat, and enjoy with bread and too much butter.

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