When I work on pescatarian recipe development I tend to do so in large batches over the course of a few days or a long weekend. I’m pretty ambitious with my projects and resign myself to the fact that my kitchen will be clean, but in total chaos for a few days – bowls of lemons, stacks of plantains, bags or rice, spices, etc. line my counter tops.
Sometimes I get in way over my head or time gets away from me and I end up with seafood on hand that I need to use immediately. In this case large defrosted shrimp.
I recently began working on shrimp recipes for the forthcoming cookbook. Shrimp, along with salmon, cod and canned tuna are among the most popular seafoods on the planet and I get demands for shrimp recipes on a weekly basis.
This recipe for spicy pescatarian peel & eat shrimp came about through necessity, essentially a ticking clock. Here’s what happened.
I took a two-pound bag of extra-large shell-on, deveined shrimp out of the freezer one day and put them in the fridge to slowly defrost. Two days later they were still in need of attention! Frozen shrimp that have been defrosted in the fridge hold up well for 24-48 hours, but you don’t want to push it past that time frame or the flesh will begin to breakdown.
The wheels in my mind started turning and I immediately thought of my treasured spice cabinet. Having made a trip to my local Indian market for ingredients and ordering from my some of my favorite online spice stores I found my inspiration.
This recipe is the result of my epiphany. A fun and decadent finger licking good seafood recipe that cooks up in under 15 minutes. Couple of pointers – this recipe is flexible and easily doubles or triples and you can cook this in the oven if it’s easier, 375ºF for about 15 minutes.
- 1 large lemon, cut in two
- 1 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 3 tablespoon butter
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro or parsley
- Serving options: French bread to soak up the sauce
In a bowl large add the whole peel-on shrimp, juice of ½ lemon, olive or avocado oil, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin and sea salt. Use your hands or tongs to mix and coat the shrimp in the spices. Set aside for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add the butter and the pour in the shrimp cook for4-5 minutes until the shrimp are firm and coated in sauce.