“The Shrimp With No Name”

UPDATE: I have recently started using Sriracha instead of the long-standing staple of a Louisiana style hot sauce in this dish. Why? I think it’s better, that’s why. Feel free to go either way, though. We don’t stand on ceremony here.

It’s true! This saucy buttery slightly spicy shrimp has no name! But why? Is it because it uses the image of a ronin as an allegory for justice without political interference, presenting the anti-hero as some sort of laconic commentary on the blurred line between flawed law and lawlessness?
Photo - The Man With No Name
Er, no. Sadly, it’s just because I couldn’t come up with a suitably fun or irreverent name. Feel free to help me out here.

Ahem. So – nomenclature aside, this is a magically simple mix of a few ingredients that you should already have on hand, and it makes a bag of frozen shrimp sing and dance.

Wait a minute. Frozen shrimp?

Yep. While I normally preach fresh ingredients, this recipe was specifically cobbled together to use frozen zipperback shrimp. Bags were on sale at the supermarket for six bucks a pop, and I laid in a couple of armfuls of them. What I wanted was a quick way to turn a bag or two (or three or four) into something delicious with a minimum of muss and fuss. Since this takes less than a half hour to prep and cook in a single pot, I think I hit the bullseye. But why don’t you whip up a batch and judge for yourself?

FAUX Q ALERT: You can cook this in a regular oven and it will taste about 95% as good as if you cooked it over a charcoal or wood fire. Which means it tastes 95% of freaking awesome. And you can’t really ask for much more from a six dollar bag of shrimp.

Full recipe after the jump.

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The portions I use here make will serve one person as a “pig-out” meal, two people as a main, and four people as an appetizer. You can double or triple or quadruple or whatever this as needed, it scales wonderfully. Gather your ingredients:

  • 1 450g bag (1 pound for luddites) of frozen zipperback shrimp (31-40 or 21-30 size), thawed (see note below)
  • 1/2 brick of butter, melted (that’s 225g, or a 1/2 pound, or two sticks if your butter comes that way)
  • 2 tablespoons of worcestershire
  • 2 tablespoons of Sriracha or Louisiana-style hot sauce (see note below)
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced
  • 5 or 6 cloves of garlic, peeled, smashed, and rough chopped
  • 15 or 20 cranks of pepper (a good-sized pinch, if you aren’t grinding it)
  • big pinch of salt

Yes, it is the return of the dreaded “ingredients” shot.

A NOTE ABOUT SHRIMP: You could use fresh shrimp if you wanted, of course, and it would probably be even better, but make sure you get your fish monger to zipper them, or do it yourself. I used 31-40 size, 21-30 would work just as well. Don’t go any bigger or smaller, though. And if you like this recipe, keep your eye out for those future sales on bags of the frozen stuff.

A NOTE ABOUT HOT SAUCE:I now use Sriracha in this dish, and I think that the combination of the earthier Thai peppers and the extra boost of garlic make this dish sing. I originally used a Louisiana-style hot sauce (Franks, which is my go-to for this type of sauce, but a similar concoction like Texas Pete’s would also be excellent) and if that is all you have or you prefer it over the Magic Rooster sauce, use it. Your results will be delicious either way. Whatever you do, don’t use the Sweet Habanero Splash that I posted here a couple of weeks ago. You’ve been warned.

Is your shrimp thawed? Good. Get your cooker (barbeque pit, Weber kettle, anything that lets you use charcoal or wood and cooks without direct heat) going and stable at 200 degrees C (400 F if you are south of the border). Melt your butter, rough chop your garlic, and slice your lemon.

HOT TIP: If you are using a cast iron dutch oven or other cooking vessel with a lot of thermal mass, stick it in the fire and use it to melt the butter. That will put some starter heat into the metal and give you a nice even cook.
In a casserole or dutch oven or baking dish big enough to hold all the shrimp and have the sauce cover them, mix the melted butter, the worcestershire, the hot sauce, the pepper, the salt, the lemon slices, and the smashed ‘n chopped garlic. Stir well. Dump in the shrimp. and gently stir to coat. If you have a bit of the shrimp poking out of the sauce as you see here, that is fine. You just don’t want any of the little guys to be completely uncovered.
Put the dish uncovered into your cooker. Cook it for 18 minutes in barbeque/pit/whatever, gently stirring twice. That’s every 6 minutes for you non-math-types out there. And that’s it! Done!
Turn the whole mess (including all of the cooking sauce) out into a serving bowl or bowls, add a couple of slices of good crusty bread for dipping, and go. Pull out a shrimp, slurp off the sauce, peel the shell back, dunk it again, and munch. It’s delightfully sloppy – there is dripping and dunking and licking of fingers and butter on your chin so you probably don’t want to cook this for a first-date dinner. Or if you are taking supper with a rather prim grandmother named The Helen. Just saying.

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5 Responses to “The Shrimp With No Name”

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