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It’s been warm this last week-and-a-half. Warm enough that once I’m finished with my morning Skypes and conference calls, I take my laptop outside and continue working from the back patio amongst all the blossoming fruit trees and the dogs running wildly with patio cushions in their mouths… If it wasn’t for the birds pecking at each other, I’d probably be drinking by noon.
When it gets warm like that, I begin salivating over barbecue. Even though it’s still technically winter, I figure if it’s 75 degrees, it’s time to dust off the ol’ grill and start the season early. So, off to the store I went to put together my favorite barbecue shrimp recipe. Of course, mother nature decided to screw with my plans and rain. It wasn’t just a sprinkle, it was a flood-the-back-yard kind of rain. I know, I shouldn’t be complaining since it’s pretty obvious El Niño isn’t happening and we desperately need the rain, but seriously, I needed barbecue shrimp for dinner. So, after pouting and acting like a big baby (and nearly starving to death), I moved everything inside to the stove. In the end, I’m kind of glad I couldn’t cook outside because had I stuck it out, the wind probably would have blown me away (it was like a monsoon outside, all that was missing was the giant tumbleweeds knocking me over) while the vultures circled from above. There must’ve been something dead nearby because despite the rain, I watched about four giant birds circle over the nearby field that had recently been plowed. #countryliving
The first time I had this recipe, a friend from Louisiana made it. She left the shrimps' heads and shells on. Have you looked closely at the head of a shrimp? I’ve never seen an alien, but a shrimp's head looks like something straight out of the X-Files or something I’d run away from if put face-to-face, squealing like a small child nose-to-nose with a gigantic slobbering dog.
The thing about shrimp heads if they’re cooked correctly, they’re crunchy, a bit salty and quite delicious. The truth is, finding whole shrimp can prove to be a bit difficult. Living in California, we’re quite spoiled by the proximity to Santa Cruz and Monterey, though my favorite spot for fresh sea food is in Morro Bay. Usually, fresh and untouched they’re my favorite to use. Finding whole shrimp can sometimes prove to be difficult, especially when they’re out of season; or you’re simply making the 45-minute drive to the coast just for shrimp. In either case, I turn to local Mexican markets when I’m in need of semi-whole shrimp.
You’ve probably guessed by now that my husband, unfortunately, will not even discuss the possibility of eating shrimp with their heads or shells so this time around I made the recipe to suit his high-maintenance needs. Is anyone else married to a pain in the ass who seems to eat everything but nothing you enjoy cooking? I’m hoping by our fifth year of marriage he’ll be easier to feed, I might have to do a Misery treatment on him, if you know what I mean.
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup of beer
- 2 tablespoons creole seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped and smashed garlic
- 2 pounds shrimp (about 24 shrimp), cleaned to your liking (Shell-less shrimp will cook faster, so beware!)
Melt 3/4 of the stick of butter, sauté garlic, shrimp and seasoning. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes in a 10-inch skillet. Add beer, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke. Cook for another 3-5 minutes until the shrimp is cooked and the liquid thickens. Add the remaining butter and shake the pan until butter is melted and the mixture is creamy. Serve over rice or along side of French Bread to soak up the sauce!
Wine Pairing: select a wine with a complex structure that can stand up to the creole spices. We like a Rhone-style wine (a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre.)