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In Fiery Drippings : A Spicy Shrimp Dish With a Peppery Flair

January 02, 1987|KAREN GILLINGHAM | Gillingham is a Los Angeles-based food writer and is a former food writer for the Los Angeles Times. and

The idea for the recipe here came from a woman who likes her food even spicier than I do. There aren't many people who do, but when I saw her measure a hefty tablespoon of black pepper into her shrimp casserole, I wondered if she wasn't plotting some ruse on her dinner guests. When she added an additional jolt of hot pepper sauce, I decided that she might not know what she was doing.

She did. The shrimp were served dripping in a poignant butter. We ate them with our fingers and mopped up the fiery drippings with hunks of bread. We ate the shrimp in Santa Monica, and our hostess told the story of how she got the idea in Aspen, Colo., but I'm sure the recipe's genus is somewhere near New Orleans.

Even though I survived the full tablespoon of pepper, I've come up with a version here that has a sufficient punch with only a third of the pepper and I've added lemon slices for some contrast. The dish looks handsome and homey prepared and served from a black iron skillet. Don't forget the bread for drinking up the drippings, and a cooling green salad is a must.

BLACK AND RED PEPPERED SHRIMP

1/4 cup butter or margarine

2 to 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 pound medium shrimp, in shells

1 lemon, thinly sliced

In large cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until tender but not browned. Stir in red pepper flakes, black pepper and salt. Add shrimp and lemon slices. Toss to coat thoroughly. Bake at 400 degrees 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes 3 to 4 servings.

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