When I was just a wee lass, I wouldn’t eat shrimp. Unless, of course, they were deep fried “baby” shrimp from the wonderful Chesapeake Bay Seafood House, in which case they were more fry than shrimp, and really just an excuse to get the hush puppies that came in each basket–yes, of course, basket–on the table. But I turned up my nose at the peel and eat shrimp feasts my family would make on beach vacations, and shrimp in decadent restaurant pasta dishes, and shrimp in Chinese food (actually, I turned my nose up at Chinese food altogether, deigning only to eat sad passive aggressive little roll ups of moo-shu wrappers stuffed with rice and cheddar cheese slices. yikes). Of all the things I’ve been wrong about in my life, shrimp is up there. I love them now (as evidenced here and here) in just about any form, but a new weeknight favorite is shrimp tossed in a super simple sauce of mostly sriracha and butter. Deelish, and done in just minutes.
I first found this recipe when I was looking for something to pair with the cantaloupe risotto that Laura and I made this summer. I was expecting it to be too sweet (and, frankly, probably gross), and wanted something spicy to balance out the meal. I didn’t go looking specifically for a sriracha dish, but since I had every ingredient (thank goodness for frozen shrimp) already on hand, this recipe looked like a winner. I liked the idea of something so fast and easy after the time I knew I would have to spend on a risotto, and was so pleased that this was actually as fast as I had hoped. I did add one step–salting and peppering the shrimp, which also gives me a quick check to make sure they’re at least mostly dry, ensuring a good spicy sear.
The online recipe comes with some commenters (which I weirdly can’t find since the Bon redesign…) questioning the amount of sriracha in this–6 tablespoons does seem like a lot, doesn’t it? Some even suggest that the butter and sriracha amounts must have been switched, but I also can’t really get right with the idea of 6 tablespoons of butter in an otherwise relatively healthy dish. Each time I’ve made it I’ve been much less precise, just squirting sriracha into the melted butter rather than bothering to whip them together, and I’ve probably used closer to three tablespoons (maybe adding another squirt right near the end of cooking, just for good measure). For me, that amount gets you get a good balance of spicy kick and buttery richness, balanced out by the sweet shrimp and fresh lemon and basil. I would suggest starting with the amount that seems best for your taste preferences, and building up from there. And if you make it with all 6 tablespoons, I want to hear about it!
As Laura said last week, shrimp is an insanely great weeknight option. And just like her tasty taste recipe, this one comes together so quickly that you do sort of have to have every other element of your dinner ready to go. Luckily, there’s not much mise involved here, since there are so few ingredients (and garlic is the only one that has to be chopped), none of which have to be perfectly precise. The last time I made this I opted to pair it with pasta tossed with store bought pesto, and sautéed some sliced yellow squash as a side while the pasta cooked. I didn’t start the shrimp til everything else was almost done, and even tho I often get flustered in that last mad dash when you’re hovering over multiple pans, this shrimp recipe is easy enough to keep me calm and cool. Another definite plus for a weeknight meal.
sriracha buttered shrimp
adapted from bon appetit
1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons (or more!) sriracha
3 garlic cloves, minced
small handful of torn basil leaves
zest of half a lemon
Salt and pepper shrimp on both sides (if you’re working with recently defrosted frozen shrimp, as I almost always am, pat them dry first). Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Squeeze in as much sriracha as will fly in your house, and swirl into the butter. Add garlic and sauté for just a few minutes. Add shrimp, toss to coat with sauce, and turn up the heat. Cook until pink, flipping shrimp at least once (the shrimp will probably be done in around 3 minutes, but I like to let them go a little longer than is probably recommended, to let the sauce get a little tasty char). Just before you pull them off the heat, add lemon zest and torn basil. Toss once more to slightly wilt the basil. Serve!