The only recipe for garlic butter shrimp you'll need. Nothing beats succulent shrimps cooked in rich shrimp infused butter.
Add some chilli, add some lemon, add freshly chopped parsley and you're winning all day long and the whole thing takes less than 10 minutes.
Prawns vs Shrimps
They are different species with different characteristics we won't get into right now. Because It's boring.
Most important to know is they taste very similar and you can use either in this recipe or any other recipe that call for either or.
One thing to keep in mind is their origin and how they were sourced. Certain types of farmed shrimp and prawns are cultivated without much regulation.
Most prawns or shrimp that's sold as fresh have most like been frozen once before.
Buying frozen is not bad.
It more often than not is actually better.
Are they healthy to eat?
This all depend on the diet you follow and how you prepare them.
Shrimps are a high protein food that contains only 84 calories per 100 grams and are rich in many nutrients and minerals like iron, vitamin B12, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, and niacin.
How to devein shrimp correctly
- Remove the heads if you have head-on shrimp.
- Next, remove the shell by simply breaking it with your thumb and forefinger. It should come off clean keeping the shrimp whole and undamaged.
- Insert a toothpick into the spine and underneath the tract running along it's back.
- Carefully pull it out making sure it comes out whole and does not break.
Cleaning and deveining shrimp this way keeps the flesh intact and undamaged. Most people will just cut the back open with a pair of scissors.
This is bad for texture and aesthetics. Keeping the shrimp whole will result in a juicier, more appealing-to-the-eye final dish.
- Shrimps - I used 16-20 calibre. This means there are 16 to 20 shrimps per pound and generally only applies to headless shell-on shrimps or prawns. Go for any size or shape or variety you want. Just be mindful that cooking times for different sizes will vary.
- Aromatics - We only use good tender local garlic. Don't use that chopped repacked stuff or acrid Chinese garlic. Fresh is best.
- Fat - 82% Fat butter. Don't use margarine or any other strange compound fat. It's nasty and will taste it too.
- Herbs - I use fresh flat-leaf parsley, but you can use whatever you like as long as it's fresh.
- Citrus - Lemon brings out the flavour of seafood really well. My favourite. Used unwaxed if possible.
- Seasonings - I added fish sauce to this recipe as I make my own using koji and fish trimmings. It's an amazing natural flavour enhancer and you can easily get it from your local Asian foods store.
Useful equipment for this recipe
Sauce Pan Set
Cast Iron Skillet
Fine Mesh Strainers
Gyuto Japanese Chefs Knife
- What I like to do is extract some of the flavours from the shells by steeping them in the butter before cooking the shrimps. This step is optional but it results in a seriously tasty version of garlic butter shrimp. Alternatively, you can use my mushroom garlic butter recipe or simply just plain butter.
- To do this, simply heat the butter and the shrimp shells together in a skillet and keep it on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Take care not to burn the butter. A bit of brown butter is delicious but don't go overboard.
- Once infused, "harvest" the shrimp butter buy passing it through a sieve placed over a bowl, pot or pan. Press out all the butter making sure only dry shells are left in the sieve. You can discard the shells or dry them out to later grind them up into a shrimp seasoning. Most of you will probably just chuck it out and that fine.
- Once the butter is in the pan, add the cleaned, deveined shrimps along with crushed garlic, finely chopped chilli(optional but also necessary) and a dash of fish sauce(optional). Let it gently cook on medium heat until the shrimps are just done. This will be a quick process and will take about one minute. If your pan is smaller and you have a lot of shrimp, move them around to make sure they all cook evenly.
- Remove the pan from the heat once the shrimps are cooked. Add chopped parsley and a fresh squeeze of lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately with some crusty sourdough baguette.
For personal advice
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Seafood swimming in flavoured butter is a very versatile dish to cook. You can choose your own adventure and make many delicious variations.
- Change the fat - I like using olive oil as a replacement for butter. Especially if this is part of a more extensive meal. It just lightens it up a bit and I really love the sweet seafood with a good grassy extra virgin olive oil.
- Herbs - Change the parsley to cilantro, basil, dill, tarragon or chervil. Chervil being my favourite alternative as it gives it a real touch of class and delicate flavour.
- Aromatics - I like doing a Thai version of this by adding lime leaf, ginger and lemongrass. for best results chop it up very fine until it's a paste. Fry it separately in a bit of sunflower oil until the aromas and flavours are released. Add along with the garlic and you'll be in Thai shrimp heaven for adults.
- Acid - If you can find it, yuzu is amazing. Otherwise, lime or a dash of mild vinegar can be used instead of lemon.
- Add bacon - Bacon does not need an intro. Simply fry some smokey bacon until crispy, chop it up and add it to the shrimps before serving. If you didn't know it. bacon and seafood matches like Rose and Jack. Only, they never let go. To give it a bit of Spanish magic add chorizo.
- Add other seafood - Scallops, baby octopus, mussels, clams, squid.... the list goes on and my mouth is watering onto my keyboard. Pick your favourite and go for it.
Something this rich and saucy easily pairs with a wide variety of side dishes and often served as a type of dip for bread.
Here's a few of my favourite serving ideas for you.
- With bread like flax sourdough, rye sourdough or soft flour tortillas.
- Alongside other sharing-friendly dishes like pea and mint dip, Moroccan eggplant salad, and chipotle guacamole.
- With simple salads like authentic Greek salad, Classic Caesar salad, or just a lightly spiced warm couscous salad.
Frequently asked questions
Seafood can be tricky thing to cook and store correctly. It's not directly cheap either so knowing a few basics will help you out if you don't know it.
There are two safe methods for defrosting. The best way is to defrost in the fridge overnight or for as long as it takes. This way the food never goes into a dangerous temperature zone where food spoilage bacteria can ruin it.
The next best thing is to run it under cold tap water. Note it should be cold to avoid it from starting to cook under hot water.
I prefer staying away from microwave defrost as it can lead to cooked food instead of just defrosted.
Yes, Once cooled down you can safely store it in an airtight container and place it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Take note that the texture will not be as good and juicy as when you just cooked it.
Defrost in the fridge to avoid any chance of food poisoning.
Other recipes you might like
If you like to cook simply food well then you'll find the following recipes useful.
- Burst tomato pasta
- Ribeye Steak
- Warm Potato Salad
- Honey roasted carrot salad
- Oven-baked chicken breast
- Perfect fried rice
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