At this very moment, I can’t think of anything better than inhaling a giant vat of plump shrimp bathed in a spicy, garlicky, butter and olive bath, can you?
Although, lying by a pool, fresh pasta, and sipping coffee outside on a Sunday morning are right on par with it.
Life has been overwhelmingly crazy for me lately – in a good way – but crazy nonetheless. I’m sure you know, I have a full-time job on top of the blog, so obviously that takes up much of my time, but what you don’t know (unless you are a fellow food blogger) is that there’s so much more to blogging than what meets the eye. I don’t just slap three posts up a week and call it a day – there’s social media to be done, connections to be made, technical issues to figure out, freelance projects to be done, and a bunch of other boring stuff you don’t want to even hear about.
I never thought I’d be that person who works and works and works, but lo and behold, I am. Obviously I work at work, but I also work on the weekends, from the moment I get home on the weeknights until the second I go to bed – it’s pretty much a revolving week of work, and I love it. Although sometimes, I want to pull my hair out form the stress (and I have an anxious personality to begin with) but I wouldn’t give up blogging or cooking for anything in the world.
So that brings me to this shrimp. Because I’m constantly working, it’s become a priority to make quick, flavorful meals on the weeknights that won’t have me in the kitchen for hours upon hours and then photographing at 9pm at night. Dishes like these stacked enchiladas, this 20 minute cherry tomato angel hair pasta and this farro “fried” rice are each a perfect example. All seriously flavorful, relatively healthy and come together in under 30 minutes.
There’s something innately warming to the soul when preparing something so simple, yet once it hits your taste buds, it’s anything but – which is exactly how I feel about this shrimp. Derived from five (six including the bread) unassuming ingredients we probably all have in our pantries (besides the shrimp), the whole is infinitely better than the sum of its parts. The “parts” include previously peeled and deveined shrimp, copious amounts of garlic, butter, olive oil and red pepper flakes.
The butter and olive oil are put over a medium-low flame until the butter is melted, after which the garlic is tossed in – it’s important to keep the temperate low, because what you want here, is for the garlic to very slowly soften up and infuse the oil and the butter without getting even the slightest hint of a brown shimmer. This takes maybe three to five minutes or so; once the garlic has softened, red pepper flakes and shrimp that have been liberally seasoned with salt are tossed in and coated in the garlic and butter. Keeping the heat on low, spoon the sauce over the shrimp, and turn occasionally until they are pink and curled up into little C’s. (You don’t want the shrimp to sear, you want them to almost steam in the garlic and butter.)
At this point, the heavenly smells of garlic and butter will be tempting you to dip your finger in, for a tiny taste – refrain, you’re going to want all that good stuff to dip charred bread into in between bites.
While the shrimp is finishing up, take thick slices of ciabatta bread (or your favorite kind to use as a dunking vessel) and drizzle them with olive oil and a little bit of salt. I char them over an open gas flame, but you can also use a grill pan or even put them under the broiler for a minute or two. I can’t stress this enough — first, please make the bread to go along with this; and second, prepare it exactly as I say, it will be the best piece of dunking bread you’ve ever had in your life, I promise.
May I suggest you serve the shrimp straight from the pan, so as to not lose any of that garlicky buttery goodness, because once every single shrimp is devoured (and they will be) the eating will continue until every last drop of butter and garlic has disappeared – but beware, if you turn your head you might catch someone licking the pan….
This is how I like to eat it. Bite of shirmp, bite of bread with shrimp, bite of bread smothered in garlic sauce — repeat until all shrimp are gone.
- 1/2 lb medium shrimp
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 5 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- ciabatta bread for serving
- In a medium non-stick skillet, add the butter and oil. Turn the heat on a medium-low. Once the butter is melted add the garlic. Cook the garlic until softened, about 3-5 minutes, make sure you keep an eye on it, you want the heat to be nice and low, and DO NOT let the garlic brown.
- Season the shrimp liberally with salt. Once the garlic is softened, add the shrimp and red pepper flakes. As the shrimp cook, spoon the garlic butter and oil over the shrimp. Once the shrimp are bright pink, remove from heat. Serve with charred bread.
- For the bread: Drizzle liberally with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. If you have a gas burner, char the bread slices over a medium heat. If you don’t you can use a grill pan, or the broiler, just make sure to keep a close eye on it if you do use the broiler. Serve with shrimp.