There's a restaurant in New Orleans called Pascal Manale's that is famous for their "Barbecue Shrimp," which isn't barbecued at all; it's shrimp poached in butter with tons of seasonings. I remember (and my mother confirmed this) going there for lunch on Yom Kippur after morning services. (For those of you who are not Jewish, Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, is a fasting day. We won't even discuss the shrimp.) My father LOVES Barbecue Shrimp, so my mother invented a recipe for it. It calls for whole shrimp (including the heads--my father likes to suck the heads) served in bowls with lots of bread for dunking. After my mother told me the recipe, I told her my (much lighter but equally delicious) version, and she said that peeling the shrimp is half the fun, and anyone who doesn't want to peel hot buttery shrimp is "chicken." Also hilarious to me: her recipe calls for a POUND of butter and 2 POUNDS of margarine (because she is under the impression that margarine is HEALTHIER than butter!!) and NO salt (because, you know, my father is a heart patient and salt just isn't good for him). My mother and I have a great relationship, and the conversation I had with her about this had us both laughing hysterically--especially when my father was calling out tips from the next room: "Use lots of black pepper!" and "Don't overcook the shrimp!" While I can’t get behind the margarine or the no salt rule, my dad is right about the black pepper and not overcooking the shrimp. —drbabs
2 pounds medium-large shrimp, peeled and deveined (Use Gulf of Mexico shrimp if you can find it.)
1/2 cup good olive oil (you may need a little more to cover the shrimp)
juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
2-4 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
2 bay leaves
2 ounces (1/2 stick) butter, cut into small pieces
Heat oven to 325. Mix the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, cayenne and garlic in a large bowl. Add the shrimp and toss gently until the shrimp is completely covered with sauce. (The seasoning here is very forgiving. If you like lemon, add more. If you like things hot, increase the cayenne and black pepper.)
Lay the shrimp in a roasting pan in a single layer. Pour remaining sauce over the shrimp, and place the thyme sprigs and bay leaves into the sauce (make sure they're covered). The shrimp should be almost submerged in sauce--you may need to add a little more olive oil if it isn't.
Scatter small pieces of butter over the shrimp. Bake at 325 until shrimp are pink and just barely cooked through (about 20 minutes). (They will continue to cook when you take them out of the oven and, as my father said, you don't want to overcook the shrimp!)
Remove the bay leaves and thyme, taste and adjust seasoning, and serve with French (or Italian) bread for dunking.