Flamin' Cajun Shrimp

By • March 23, 2011 • 96 Comments


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Author Notes: Actually, I think the spicing of these shrimp is a little more Creole, but that doesn't make a slant rhyme with flamin' now does it? Anyways, this is actually a recipe from a college boyfriend of mine. I think I've said it before (I have a terrible habit of repeating myself), but I'll say it again, there is no relationship that doesn't wind up leaving you with something worthwhile, and this dish is certainly one of those things. It's one of my very favorite dinners - super fast, super easy, and super delicious. I've tweaked it over the years, and now I finally decided it was time to let it go up in flames, but only literally. The addition of cognac and the lick of the flame over the shrimp adds a whole new dimension of wonderful flavors to those already in the dish. Make sure to have lots of good French bread on hand because you really don't want to let any of the sauce go un-sopped up. This dish is fabulously messy, as you have to peel the shells off of the sauce slicked shrimp as you go. And then you get to lick your fingers, yum. If you need to, you can use peeled shrimp, but I really recommend shell on shrimp because the shrimp meat cooks to a nicer texture and has more delicate flavoring, while the sauce also winds up with better flavor. - fiveandspicefiveandspice

Food52 Review: Tender and garlicky, fiveandspice's shrimp skew more towards gumbo than other boozy shrimp dishes like scampi or shrimp with beurre blanc. There's a subtle background tingle of cayenne, and fiveandspice capitalizes on both the fragrance of lemon zest and the gentle astringency of its juice. Worcestershire sauce and paprika give the sauce an earthy quality, while the Cognac envelops the shrimp like a warm, sweet blanket. We love any recipe that embraces the ritual of peel-and-eat, and like fiveandspice, we suggest serving this with plenty of crusty bread to sop up the sauce. - A&MA&M

Serves 2-4

  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • zest from one half lemon
  • 25-30 large shrimp, shell on (though, I have discovered by necessity that it also does work with peeled shrimp, if you must)
  • 5 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon shallot, finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup cognac (or brandy)
  1. In a bowl, combine the shrimp with the spices and the lemon zest. Toss the shrimp to coat it well.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat 2 Tbs. of butter over medium-high heat until foaming. Stir in the garlic, shallot, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce. Saute for about 2-3 minutes, until the garlic and shallot have softened. Then, add the shrimp and saute until they just turn pink, about 3 minutes.
  3. Carefully tilt the pan away from you, pour in the cognac with a ladle and use a long match or one of those lighters with a long handle to light the cognac. Let it blaze itself out -- this should only take 15 or so seconds. I once had a friend add way too much cognac to a flambe and the fire just kept going and going ... if this happens, please just blow it out!
  4. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the remaining butter until melted. Serve with lots of crusty French bread, a big green salad (and heck, why not eat that with your fingers too?!) and some cold beer.

Tags: creole, Easy, fast, finger food

Comments (96) Questions (1)

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about 1 month ago Sylvia9000

Oops. That's my family's favourite way to eat it. Here's a note, if you don't have prawns, it works with scallops too. Rum works equally well but it seems to flambé MUCH more dramatically.

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about 1 month ago Sylvia9000

I love this dish. Absolutely.
It goes well with pasta and Carrots Cooked Forever really well. That's my fam'

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over 1 year ago phyllis

I just found and cooked this and it was delicious. I only had peeled raw shrimp and we were only two, but with a little smile arithmetic, it worked perfectly. Will definitely cook this again. Thank you.

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over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Excellent! Happy to hear it!

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over 1 year ago frog

This is definitely more Creole, not Cadien. Add beer and rosemary and you have New Orleans Barbecued Shrimp.

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over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Yum.

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almost 2 years ago Elizabeth George

Oh my Lord! Just made this and it was awesome. I used peeled shrimp and no butter but it was so awesome! With butter it will be TO. DIE. FOR.

Thanks for sharing!

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almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

That's great! Really glad you liked it so much!

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almost 2 years ago biocarolyn

Made this about four times in the past three weeks! It has definitely entered our rotation, delicious and I'm not really a shrimp person. Really great recipe, thank you!

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almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

That's so fantastic!!! I'm absolutely thrilled!

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almost 2 years ago nesticlose

Made this last night. It was absolutely Yummy; will definitely make again. We did add a little beer to the sauce so there would be more to sop. I didn't get the too much sodium comments at all.

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almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Glad you liked it! And, I love the idea of adding a little beer to the sauce. Yum! Also, I think the sodium comments were just from the perspective of someone who is sodium sensitive and therefore has to really severely restrict their intake. For someone with that kind of diet Worcestershire sauce, and even shrimp, can be too high sodium. But, for people with a normal sodium tolerance, it should be no problem.

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about 2 years ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Happy Mardi Gras fiveandspice. Just made these for our expat LA dinner (here in DC). Delicious!!!

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about 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Happy (belated) Mardi Gras to you! I hope you all had a completely wonderful party! And, I'm so happy you enjoyed the shrimp!

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about 2 years ago HungryForMore

Just made this over the weekend! It was totally awesome and I am immediately putting it into my regular rotation!

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about 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

That's wonderful! Thanks so much for letting me know!

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almost 3 years ago silverspringcat

This looks spectacular but too high in sodium for me BUT I will make it for friends and watch them jealously enjoying it - love your recipes

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thank you! I'm sorry you won't be able to eat it. But, between the salt and the Worcestershire, I can definitely seeing it be pretty high in sodium. I hope your friends like it. And I hope you prepare something absolutely Fabulous for yourself as well!

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almost 3 years ago silverspringcat

This looks so delicious and I will have to make it for my friends - for me though it has got to be very high in sodium so I will enjoy them enjoying it

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almost 3 years ago bricksoj

Made this over the weekend for a dinner party - amazing. The best part was sopping up the sauce with warm french bread. Will definitely add into heavy rotation in my kitchen!

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Yay! I'm so happy you liked it! And, I'm so with you on sauce sopping as being the best part.

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almost 3 years ago chef lew

Congratulations. This is a fine and fast dish. Shells on always makes for more flavor. I served this with mashed potatoes instead of rice, the sauce substituting for gravy. Pascale Manale's got nothing on these shrimp. Great work..

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thank you! I'm so happy to hear you liked it! And, I bet mashed potatoes were quite delicious with the sauce.

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about 3 years ago lorigoldsby

Congrats! We make a very similar dish but with dark beer--but like a fool, I've been peeling the shrimps for everyone! Thanks for the "peel and eat" idea.

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about 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Mmm, bet a beer version would be very tasty! And, definitely go for the peel and eat - it's fun for everyone!

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about 3 years ago debbinick

Just made it with my kids (age 4 & 5) without the alcohol and they were practically licking their plates!

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about 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I'm so happy they enjoyed it! Thanks for letting me know.

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about 3 years ago Waverly

Congratulations! I make a version of this often (in the oven and without the brandy and flame) and know how outstanding it is. Lemon, butter, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and shrimp...there is no better combination of food!

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about 3 years ago Waverly

Add some brandy....I must try this soon.

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about 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thanks Waverly! And it's true, pretty much the only thing that can make shrimp, lemon, garlic, butter and Woozy-sauce better would be brandy! That's why I gave it a try! :)

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about 3 years ago kmartinelli

Congrats! I love the simplicity of this recipe and amazing flavors. Can't wait to try!

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about 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thanks kmartinelli! You're so kind!

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about 3 years ago cheese1227

Fabulous dish. Congrats on the win! Perhaps I will make this for the main and your salted caramel pudding for dessert.

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about 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Mmmm, that sounds like pretty much a perfect meal! I may copy you! :)

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about 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Major congrats!! This looks killer!! So happy you won!

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about 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thanks ChezSuzanne! That means a lot to me!

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about 3 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

Brava chica!

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about 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Mil gracias, senor!