This is a messy but good recipe that comes from my Great-uncle Garrett. He published it in Gulf Stream Cookin’ a “gourmetish” little book the Orange Beach Community Center put together of seafood recipes.
Back when I was a kid, they’d make several pans of these the evening after we’d pull a shrimp trawl and bring them to the table with paper plates and a couple rolls of paper towels. All of us would fall on them like ravaging hordes – peeling as fast as we could and licking our fingers to get all the terrific spice. As I’ve added cayenne pepper to the spices, be careful on how many fingers you lick if you’re not a big heat fan.
My big change is to remake his two sticks of margarine into 2 sticks of preserved lemon butter. I made up the preserved lemons in the fall and they are luscious and golden with an intense lemon flavor. Absolutely perfect for this dish. Here is how to make preserved lemons.
The preserved lemon butter is a step up from regular lemon butter. Mellow but lemony and the added kick from the cayenne makes for one tasty dish.
Preserved Lemon Butter Broiled Shrimp
2 sticks butter, softened
1 preserved lemon
2 lb large shrimp, heads removed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 to ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Prepare the preserved lemon butter by finely slicing one preserved lemon, rind and all. Mix with the softened butter until well combined. Place on plastic wrap and roll up, twisting ends tightly. Place in the refrigerator to solidify.
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
If you are squeamish about the vein, run a deveiner or a pairing knife down the back to remove it. Leave the rest of the shell on. Otherwise, just leave the shrimp in shells.
Mix together the salt, black pepper and cayenne in a small bowl. Set aside.
Butter a large rimmed baking sheet. Place shrimp close together in rows on the pan. Thoroughly sprinkle with spices until well coated. Place thin slices of the preserved lemon butter all over the shrimp.
Bake until pink, about 5-10 minutes depending on size of the shrimp. Turn oven to broil and broil for 5 minutes. Done shrimp are deep pink and firm to the touch.
Since the shrimp are peeled with the fingers at the table, serve with a good supply of napkins. The more you lick your fingers, the spicier the shrimp will be.
Serve with bread for dipping into the lemon butter.