08 June 2006

Killer Shrimp

One of my favorite restaurants in southern California is a place in Marina Del Rey called "Killer Shrimp." To say that the place is a little "minimalist" might be a huge understatement. They have one thing on their menu -- three guesses as to what it is? Their shrimp is served a few different ways -- over pasta, over rice, or simply in a broth with a side of crusty French bread. The restaurant is barely decorated, the tables are nearly empty. Most folks know the original way to eat is with no utensils -- just diving into the bowl of broth-covered shrimp, peeling and eating the fleshy prawns; then soaking up the spicy broth with bread. It's so simple, it's complex.

So complex was this meal, that I decided that I had to be able to duplicate it. And, since I wanted to replicate the minimalist experience, I served the meal on TV trays! I made my first attempt last night. The recipe is as follows:


2 Tbsp fresh or dried rosemary
2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 qts clam broth (I used crab broth, made from leftovers from my snow crab dinner)
6 ozs tomato paste
1 stick butter
5 lbs shrimp; med to large
loaf(ves) of crusty french bread
Let me just say that this recipe yields A TON of broth. I only cooked two pounds of shrimp, and I am only guesstimating that I could have easily added three more pounds -- but, I may have been able to make 10 pounds -- who knows? I figure that extra broth is not such a bad thing. It will keep. I was also unsure as to where the kick comes from in this recipe. I don't see anything listed in there that would create the kind of spicy effect that I had back in MDR. Well, I assure you -- this has some kick. I don't know if it is the red pepper (doesn't add kick like that to a slice of pizza!), the black pepper, or just the combination of spices, but it has kick -- you should like spicy foods if you want to try this.


Break up the spices, rather than grinding them. You should see recognizable pieces of rosemary, etc. when you are done. Mix the ingredients in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about two hours. If you are in a pinch for time, you can get by with less time, but the more time you allow, the better flavor you will get. Just before serving, add unpeeled shrimp to the stock pot. Continue to simmer for two to four minutes. The shrimp will be done QUICKLY.

Serve in bowls. Each bowl should contain a number of shrimp and a lot of broth. The broth should almost cover the shrimp.

The dish is eaten with your fingers -- no utensils. Grab a shrimp and peel and eat. Soak up the broth with the bread. Enjoy.
The broth was EXCELLENT -- about just like I remembered from California. But, I definitely made a mistake on the shrimp. Albertson's had a great price on some very large (16 ct.) frozen fresh water shrimp. Hmmm....they weren't that good. I need to find a good local source of shrimp -- maybe gulf shrimp. I don't know if the frozen aspect was an issue, but I guess fresh would be better. I take all of this on me, but the recipe rocks.

As I mentioned, I have plenty of broth, so I am going to make an attempt on some other shrimp and maybe give this a go again this weekend.

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