Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sizzling Shrimp

This shrimp dish is absolutely perfect. It's a simple preparation with minimal ingredients that is incredibly flavorful. Tender shrimp with just the tiniest hint of spice are bathed in a heavenly seafood broth and finished off with a spritz of fresh Italian parsley. The shrimp are delicious, but the real star here is the broth. Give me a fresh loaf of bread (or a spoon for that matter) and I could eat it all day.

The shrimp heads and shells are simmered in fish or seafood stock to create a wonderful broth infused with rich shrimp flavor. I used a high quality seafood stock as my base, made with wine, garlic, and herbs, and I think it really enhanced the dish. I definitely recommend you do the same. A high quality base means an even higher quality finished product.

I learned a useful tip in the process of making this dish about how to tell when shrimp are done. The secret is not in their color, but in their shape. Color is a useful indicator when it comes to undercooking; however, overcooked shrimp are the exact same color as those that have been perfectly cooked. Shape doesn't lie, when shrimp are underdone they are only slightly curved, cooked to perfection they are curved in the shape of the letter 'C,' and overcooked, they are tightly curved into an 'O' shape.

I made this on one of my last free days before starting the new job and it was quite the enjoyable afternoon. I spent about an hour puttering around in the kitchen before finally sitting down to my delicious lunch. This recipe is perfect for a lazy Saturday afternoon when you have plenty of time to enjoy the results. However, be warned, a pound of high quality shrimp does not come cheap. I ended up paying a lot more than I was expecting for a casual lunch ($20+ just for the shrimp!).

Bon appetit!

Sizzling Shrimp
Serves 2-4
1 lb. uncooked shrimp, with shells, heads and shells (if possible)
2 cups high quality fish broth/stock (I used a wonderful seafood stock)
6 garlic cloves
1 lime, zested and juiced
Pinch smoked paprika
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (or cayenne pepper)
1/3 c high quality olive oil
Pinch of sea salt
1-2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
Lime wedges and crusty bread, for serving

Peel and devein shrimp, reserving the heads and shells. If you're not familiar with deveining shrimp, here is a great demo from Epicurious. 

Place shrimp heads and shells in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the broth and season with freshly cracked black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Strain the broth into a bowl and discard heads and shells. Cover and set aside.

While the liquid is simmering, place the garlic, lime zest and juice, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes and olive oil in a bowl and mix to combine. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, then cover and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Drain the shrimp, reserving the marinade. Place a heavy, shallow cast-iron pan over high heat, add the marinade and bring to a boil. Add 1/2 cup of the broth and stir to combine. Next add the shrimp and simmer over high heat 5-10 minutes, or until cooked through. Fun fact: you can tell shrimp are done when they are slightly curved in the shape of the letter 'C.' If they are tightly curved into an 'O' shape, that means they're overdone. My shrimp were done after about 4 minutes, but I didn't take them out until 5 minutes had passed and a few were slightly overcooked as you can see in the photo below.

You can spot the overcooked shrimp by their "O" shape

Just before serving, add a final spoonful of broth followed by the parsley. Serve hot with lime wedges and crusty bread for dipping.
Source: What Katie Ate

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