Thursday, November 6, 2008

Firecracker Shrimp

Before I get to these Firecracker Shrimp, let me back up a bit to what Jim and I did this past Saturday. The two of us attended Wurstfest in New Braunfels, TX with some friends. This is a German festival celebrating all things ... German... but particularly sausage and beer. Neither of us had attended such a festival, but we both like sausages and we both like beer so it sounded like a GREAT idea. We had SO much fun. I have ridiculous pictures to prove the fun...

A group of nine people drank all those pitchers of beer...even though Jim and I are the only ones posing with this monstrosity. The hats? Oh, that is something everyone does. We actually purchased these at the festival so we wouldn't feel left out. My little honey bee has wings that flap when I pull the string under my chin. How cute is that?

Here are the guys.

And here are the girls.

I'm "flapping" the wings in this pic. Jim is happy as he returns from picking up another pitcher of beer. Beer and Brats, that's what we "did" from 7 PM to 1 AM.

After a while you start to dig the polka music. I think Jim is teaching our friend Amanda how to do his white boy dance. Oh, gosh... it's an awful dance... but really funny when Jim gets into it.

For our next trick Jim will balance 140 empty pitchers of beer on his nose while not puking.

Wurstfest, we love you. We will be back...with our crazy hats and all!

Now on to the SHRIMP! My local Whole Foods was having a ridiculous sale on these big shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico. I heard about the sale on Thursday (I'm on their e-newsletter mailing list) and thought about what I was going to do with these shrimp the rest of the week. When Jim and I were driving home from New Braunfels we made a stop at Whole Foods to pick up a pound of these ugly things.

Oh god these are ugly. So ugly in fact that I could hardly touch them. I have this weird thing about things from the sea - I hate them... but sometimes I eat them, but I do strongly dislike thinking about them as living things. eeewww....I'm getting grossed out just reliving the experience as I post this.

These are not my pretty manicured hands, why? I cannot bring myself to touch these bad boys. This is my delightful boyfriend Jim who is handling the peeling for me. I had to look up on another blog exactly how to prep shrimp, so I made sure to take good pictures while Jim de-shelled these shrimp so I could return the favor and show others how it's done.

Here we see Jim ripping the legs off the shrimp.

...I think I threw up a little in my mouth....

Next, Jim peels the shell off the little guy. It looked like they peeled right off without a struggle.

See here, he just lifts it off with his thumb.

Ew, again.
Here is a tip. There are (apparently) lots of good flavor in these shells, so I had Jim stuff the shells into a zip top bag and I put them in the freezer. I plan to make fish stock with them later. I could use this stock when making risotto, maybe a seafood risotto where I add shrimp or scallops.
Here I am! Yes, I'm wearing thick pink gloves to handle the shrimp. I squealed every time I tried to pick one up with my bare hands. I actually think I had the grosser job of the two of us. I have to "devein" the shrimp.... translates to pull the poop tube out of the shrimps back. Yeah, if you are too squeamish to finish the post, go back up and look at Jim and I in our crazy beerfest hats.

You basically hold it like this, then with a paring knife you cut down the back about 1/4 an inch until you expose the dark vein. Then you pull it out, scrape it out, suck it out. Just kidding, don't get your mouth anywhere near this filth.
Keep the shrimp in ice water or on ice the entire time you are working with them. Once peeled and deveined I put them in a colandar and rinsed them REALLY well.

Here is what I came up with for cooking the shrimp. Lemon juice, a favorite among sea food recipes. Here you see I used the real juice from a squeeze bottle. The Worcestershire to add mucho flavor. Sea salt, because I like the way it feels in my hands. Black pepper, because I'm adding salt. The two just go together. Add one, go ahead and add the other. The show stopper was this chinese hot sauce. Love this stuff. Not pictured is olive oil and last but not least....everything is better with butter, right?

First I lay the shrimp in a single layer (as much as possible) and give it a good heavy sprinkling of ground pepper.

This looks like a tablespoon of sea salt.

I gave enough Worcestershir shakes to cover the bottom of the pan. Maybe a half cup total.

This is about a tablespoon of chili sauce, but definitely fix this to your taste. We like things spicy, but not CRAZY spicy, just hot enough to make your nose run.

To the chili sauce I added an equal amount of olive oil.

Stir this together...and now let's make some magic.

Just spoon this over the top of the shrimp. No rhyme or reason, just try to "dump" evenly if you can.

Everything is better with a stick of butter. Is there an echo in here?

Yup, this looks like a Paula Deen recipe. It aint. Now pre-heat your oven to "hot" which in my kitchen is the broiler setting at 525 degrees. These shrimp cook fast.
10 minutes later, look what we have here!
These are nice and pink. I cut into one and they were perfectly cooked through, just swimming in this amazing sauce. FYI, I can touch these now with my bare hands. I can even eat these, with glee...without squealing or squirming.
I have this great two sided bowl that I believe I bought on impulse at World Market. I use it ALL the time. For this appetizer I put all the cooked shrimp on one side and spooned a little of the drippings on top of them.

Beautiful darlings, aren't they?
Here is another magic trick for you. Now you see them....

Now you don't. Voila, success!!!!


  1. Love your blog funny! I love all the descriptions and the humor. I look forward every morning to getting up, sitting down with my coffee, and checking your blog FIRST. Okay, it's a toss up between you and Rookie Cookie, but today you were my first and I'm glad I did. We love shrimp...definitely going to try this one out. Thanks!

  2. Mmmm. Great post; funny. Now that you can handle shrimp you should do a shrimp boil! Ohhh, they are soooo yummy!

  3. OK, I’m laughing so hard I’m crying..
    This is truly my most favorite blog. SO MANDY!!!!

    Love, Mom

  4. Tasty! The step-by-step photos are so helpful, especially in regards to the deveining (a job I would save for my dear husband haha! :).

  5. Man, your photos are awesome. What kind of camera do you have? And the lighting is you use a light kit?

  6. I'm cracking up about the feeling squeemish comment Mandy!

    I want a hat! And some beer and sausage! And some SHRIMP!! Sounds delicious!

  7. J & J, which one is this? Jamie or Jen. Whichever it is, I’m just tickeled pink that I’m the first blog you read in the morning. That must be the largest compliment you could have paid me. The first blog I check is P-dub but she does not post every day. To answer your question I have a normal digital camera (which is not with me while traveling to San Antonio, so I can’t tell you now what brand it is.) But I can tell you it is a normal point and shoot, nothing fancy with lens attachments, it fits in my pocket it is so small. I got it for Christmas last year from my dear parents; and I think it is in the $250 range. I do NOT use a light kit but wish on many occasions I had one. I use natural sunlight when I can and move dishes over to the patio door. Otherwise they look yellow with the florescent lights I have in my kitchen.

    Kimberly, tell me more about this shrimp boil. Sounds like party food, and I LOVE to throw a party!

    Thanks Mom, glad I made you cry – er, made your day.

    Sophie, deveining is definitely a job for someone else! Yuck!

    Aggie, next time you are in Texas, anywhere near Austin I’m taking you for lots of beer and sausage. German style! Prost!!

  8. Oh yes ~ a shrimp boil is perfect for a get together! The basics of one is...

    2 lbs. shell-on headless shrimp,
    crab (if you like),
    1 link of pork or italian sausage cut in 1/2" pieces,
    12 new red potatoes or 3 russets quartered and unpeeled
    3 ears of corn (cut in thirds),
    4 onions quartered,
    2 packages (3 oz. ea.) Crab & Shrimp Boil,
    1/4 cup Salt

    In a large boiling pot, bring a gallon of water, crab boil and salt to a boil. Add potatoes and boil for 10 minutes. Add onions and sausage and boil for 5 minutes. Add shrimp and corn and boil for 5 minutes more. Drain & serve with a crusty bread and beer. Makes 6 servings.

    A fun and authentic way to serve this is to drain off the liquid and serve on butcher paper. Toss the leftover shells and cobbs on the paper as you eat (in a sep. pile of course) and then just roll up the paper and toss when it's all gone!

    Hope you enjoy this! It is very yummy!

  9. That shrimp looks SO good, yummers! Oh, Jaime checks out your blog first because she is always on the computer, just kidding Jaime. I am alway son the computer, sigh.

    Gotta try this shrimp after I get back from N.C.



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