The broiler setting of an oven is very similar to a grill. Basically, it’s an inverted grill. So, when we broil things like shrimp, we can take a few cues from the way we grill shrimp. There are several ways to broil shrimp. The first way would be to skewer them. The best skewer, in my opinion, is to use a stick of rosemary. Another way would be to simply broil them whole. However, the best way is to butterfly them, apply seasoning directly to the shrimp meat, and throw under the broiler. This allows them to cook quicker, makes the meat taste better, and there will be less of a chance of over cooking.
In order to make the butterflying technique less of a pain, I recommend buying big shrimp. Or you can ask your butcher if they would be willing to butterfly the shrimp for you. If that’s the case, don’t forget about your butcher when you do your Christmas shopping this year. I hear they like sharp, pointy things.
- 1 pound brown shrimp
- Black pepper
- Sea salt
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tsp rosemary
Fresh Brown Shrimp De-veined, Butterflied, Buttered, and Broiled under High Heat
- Procure some shrimp from your local fishmonger. The shrimp I got for this meal are wild caught, brown shrimp. At 12 to a pound (or U12) they are pretty big. They come bigger than that, too. The biggest I’ve seen were U6, and they looked like small lobsters. Whichever shrimp you go with, try to avoid imported shrimp, as they are listed as “eco-worst” on the Environmental Defense Fund’s website.
- Butterfly the shrimp using a sharp knife and patience. The trick to butterflying a shrimp is to start from the inside and go out. Straighten out the shrimp and stick your fillet knife right in the neck, pushing it all the way down to the tail. Bend the tail and let the blade poke out through the shell, then just cut through the shell the rest of the way. Splay the shrimp open and cut the meat until it lays flat. Remove the poop vein, rinse off, and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Season the shrimp with salt, pepper, rosemary, and butter. Melt some butter in the microwave with a few sprigs of rosemary and a clove of garlic. Once the butter is completely melted, let it cook for another minute. Let it stand for a 30 minutes before brushing it, liberally, on the shrimp. If you use salted butter, it won’t be necessary to salt them, but do finish them off with a little fresh cracked black pepper. Move an oven rack to the second position from the top and heat up the broiler on high.
- Broil the shrimp on high. Lay the shrimp on the broiling pan with the meat side facing up. In fact, you won’t even be flipping these shrimp. If you haven’t broiled before, stick close to the broiler so you can check on them as they cook. It will only take a few minutes for the meat to cook through, but they should be a little brown. Some of the shell may start to turn black. Once they are done, squeeze on some fresh lemon juice and serve immediately.
Tips & Tricks
- Cook the shrimp the same day you buy it to avoid spoilage. I have seen thawed shrimp turn sour after 3 days. There is nothing more disappointing than having to throw expensive seafood away.
- As is most often the case, especially if you don’t live on the coast, “fresh shrimp” probably came to the store frozen. Most of the time, you are better off buying frozen shrimp and thawing it yourself so you will know exactly how long it has been thawed. When cooking seafood, this is a very important thing to know.
- Pink shrimp from Oregon are listed as the “eco-best” shrimp you can buy. By comparison, American caught or farmed shrimp are “eco-ok,” and imported shrimp are the “eco-worst.” I think the most common imported shrimp are the black tiger shrimp or prawn.