FreshTartSteph Recipe: Butterflied Shrimp

These butterflied shrimp are more of a technique than a recipe, a simple way to grill truly shrimpy shrimp.

Shrimp shells are where the flavor is at—even if you’re preparing shelled shrimp for a salad or pasta, keep the shells! Either freeze them in an airtight plastic bag or make quick batches of stock as you go and freeze the stock. Use the stock to make risotto, soup, a simple pan sauce…wherever you add it, it’s an incredible punch of flavor for very little effort.

Or especially during grilling season, just cook the shrimp in their shells. To not have to fuss with skewers, or with peeling hot shrimp (which is a bit of a pain), remove the legs from large shrimp (U15), then with a small, sharp knife, split them lengthwise down the middle without cutting all the way through the shells. Remove the vein that runs down the middle (running them under cold water makes the process go quickly) and press gently on the shrimp to flatten them. I set them on a baking sheet as I go, dry them all with paper towels when I’m done, then drizzle them with olive oil on both sides. I then sprinkle them very lightly with salt and grill over medium high heat until the shells are pink and the flesh is completely opaque, usually about three minutes per side.

That’s it. Serve them hot, as is, or with a squeeze of lemon, or with a punchy sauce for dipping. Sometimes I pour hot lemon-caper-butter over them and serve them with crusty bread. Sometimes I serve them alongside banh xeo (Vietnamese coconut milk pancakes) and the wonderful sauce that accompanies them. To me this is appetizer food, party food. I pile them on a platter and everyone digs in with their hands and a big stack of napkins. Because they’re split open, the shrimp lift right out of their shells. And because they’re cooked in the shell, they actually taste like shrimp.

All good! Have fun!