Now, it occurred to me that the title of this recipe could reasonably make you think that we were eating shrimp while swigging down beer. Which was not the case. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I am a merlot type of girl.
No, the beer in this super-easy dish is the liquid that you cook the shrimp in. That and a little bit of whole allspice, a clove of crushed garlic, and some fresh parsley and dill. You throw all of these ingredients into a skillet, boil it all for two minutes, and you are done. Yes, TWO MINUTES. I barely had time to make the dipping sauce, which is melted butter with some lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and another crushed garlic clove. That’s it, folks. It just may be a new indoor record in terms of getting a pretty great-tasting dinner on the table in as little time as possible.
A couple of things to mention here. First and most importantly, this is from the fabulous 60 Minute Gourmet Cookbook by Pierre Franey. For all you youngsters out there, this is a simply wonderful cookbook collection of a feature that used to be in The New York Times…recipes that were elegant and delicious and fast. Well, under 60 minutes, anyway. I have several books in this series, and for some reason I forget them from time to time, and then remember they are in my bookcase and then it is like Christmas, recipe-wise. Anyway, to Pierre Franey, wherever you are, I lift my glass of merlot in love and appreciation.
Second, this dish is messy, and I mean that in the best way. One of the reasons it is so fast is that you don’t peel the shrimp first (yes!!!) – they cook in the shell. You dump the whole thing into one big bowl, have another empty bowl on the table for the shells, give everyone their own personal little container of the lemon butter dipping sauce, and go to town. Peel and eat, baby…no forks involved anywhere. At my house, this always results in a merry, festive attitude during dinner, and that in itself is worth the butter spatters all over the table. I put a plate of buttered toast on the table as a “side dish,” but this is one of those meals where you are in it first and foremost for the shrimp, and we’ll worry about getting our veggies at some other meal.
Now, I couldn’t find my actual old battered copy anywhere on Amazon, but the link that’s with the recipe is for a book that looks like it is an updated version…and so long as it is from the 60 Minute Gourmet, it’s going to be great. Especially the recipes that are really actually TWO minutes.
- 3 pounds shrimp in the shell (get the large kind)
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 6 whole allspice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 sprigs fresh parsley
- 2 sprigs fresh dill
- One 12 ounce can beer
Lemon Butter Dipping Sauce
- 1/4 pound butter
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 teaspoon Worscestershire sauce
- 1 clove crushed garlic
- Combine all ingredients above in a heavy skillet and cover. Bring to a boil. Simmer until shrimp are opaque (a minute or two) and remove from heat. Meanwhile assemble dipping sauce (recipe below).
- Serve in the shell, letting people peel their own and giving them individual warm damp cloths for their hands.
Lemon Butter Dipping Sauce
- Heat the butter until hot and bubbling.
- Add remaining ingredients and stir. Serve in individual containers for each person.