There’s a restaurant in Manhattan Beach (there’s also one in the Marina) called Killer Shrimp. They offer a grilled shrimp for the meek but essentially there’s one item on the menu: a big serving of cooked, unpeeled shrimp swimming in a bowl of cajun gravy. A basket of sliced french bread is provided for dipping into the amazing spicy gravy. There’s one dessert, too: key lime pie. The whole experience is sloppy and delicious and after eating there a couple of dozen times I was determined to duplicate the recipe.
And I did. I nailed it. It took a couple of years but this is exactly what they serve (by the way, great idea for a restaurant, eh? Just serve basically one thing, simmer it in a pot for a couple of hours, throw in shrimp and serve. You could get a child to do it And Killer Shrimp was packed every time I ate there).
This does tie into Christmas because since returning to the vast wastelands of the midwest I’ve been preparing this on Christmas Eve. It takes very little time to assemble and makes for a fun Christmas Eve dinner. I’ll be throwing it together for my family again this year.
A couple of notes on the recipe: yes, it takes a lot of butter. This is because it’s technically a gravy and not a sauce, and a true gravy contains fat. You can cut down on the butter a bit, but not much. It’s really essential. Trust me on this. Also essential is the huge amount of rosemary in it. Again, you can cut down a bit but it’s really an important part of the recipe – at Killer Shrimp, the gravy is loaded with it and surprisingly it isn’t overpowering. The nice thing about the long simmer time is you can make adjustments throughout the process, so if you want to reduce the butter/rosemary at the beginning you can always throw a little more in later.
On to the recipe:
Christmas Eve Killer Shrimp
(weird name for a Christmas recipe, isn’t it? Oh well).
Add the following to a stockpot and bring to a boil:
- 4 oz tomato sauce
- 2 8-oz bottles of clam juice (you can find this bottled near the tuna in your grocery store)
- 1 can beer (don’t use dark beer)
- 3 sticks butter (not margarine)
- 1/4 C worcestershire sauce
- 2 quarts Clamato (you can substitute plain tomato juice if you must)
- 1 C water
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 tsp celery seed
- 3 T plus 1 tsp dried rosemary leaves
- 1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 2 tsp Tabasco sauce
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. When ready to serve, bring back to boiling and add 3-4 pounds of unpeeled large shrimp. Let boil for 2-3 minutes until done. Ladle shrimp into bowls with generous servings of the gravy. Serve with sliced baguettes and lots of napkins.
The above will provide around 4 servings, adjust as you need to.