Barbecue Shrimp In The Oven
My favorite way to cook barbecue shrimp is to semi-steam them in wine in a pan on the stove. But there’s a limit (about two and a half pounds) to how many shrimp can be done at one time that way. For bigger quantities, I bake them in the oven instead. They come out nearly as good. The only loss is that the sauce loses its creamy look, because the butter de-emulsifies. But that’s more an appearance issue than one involving flavor.
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 lbs. fresh Gulf shrimp with heads on, 15-20 count to the pound
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup dry white wine or beer
- 2 lbs. salted butter
- 2 Tbs. paprika
- 2-4 Tbs. ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Use the garlic cloves to wipe the inside of a baking pan (or two) big enough to hold all the shrimp. Squeeze it in there to get as much garlic oil as you can in there. Discard the garlic itself, but leave the little bits that came loose. Place two bay leaves at the bottom of the pan.
2. Wash and pat dry the shrimp, then lay them on their sides, crowded together and slightly overlapping, in the baking pan. Douse the shrimp with the lemon juice.
3. Cut the butter into cubes and distribute it atop the shrimp. Sprinkle it with the paprika. Liberally sprinkle enough black pepper over the shrimp to cover them with a palpable black layer. Don’t miss any spots! (And you don’t have to use the whole can, either.)
4. Bake the shrimp in a preheated 350-degree oven for fifteen minutes. With a kitchen spoon, move the shrimp in the center around (some still may not have turned pink) so they get exposed to the heat. Return the shrimp to the oven if necessary, but not much longer. Check every couple of minutes, and when all the shrimp are pink, take them out. If you’re not sure whether they’re fully cooked, then they are.
5. Serve the shrimp in soup plates with lots of the sauce and toasted French bread. Also plenty of napkins and perhaps bibs.
Serves eight to ten.