THE WASHINGTON POST – One of my favourite ways to prepare shrimp is to slip them onto a sheet pan and run them under the broiler. It is lickety-split fast, giving me more time to spend on fussier sides.
How much seasoning the shrimp get before going under the heat depends heavily on the quality of the crustaceans.
When I was living in New Orleans, I could easily get my hands on inexpensive, fresh-from-the-Gulf shrimp. They are plump and sweet. This is especially true because I am married to a guy from “down the bayou” and, at this time of year, local fishermen are hauling in their catch.
If you can find fresh Gulf shrimp, buy them. These days, however, more often I rely on convenient frozen shrimp, and those may require a bit of futzing – extra garlic, another sprinkle of dried herbs, a splash of hot sauce – to get them where I want them.
The basics are the same though. I do the whole thing on the sheet pan: Peel the shrimp, leaving on the tail shell to protect that thinner part of the flesh. Then place them on the sheet pan and toss them with a little fat and seasonings. Then, run the whole thing under the broiler. Even the larger ones, which I prefer for broiling, are done in less than five minutes. What else can you say that about? This week, I whisked olive oil with cane syrup and Sriracha, and then sprinkled the shrimp with minced garlic, Creole seasoning, pepper flakes and sweet paprika. For that fussy side, I adapted a Milk Street recipe of raw, shaved zucchini salad tossed with fresh mint and basil in a light vinaigrette.
Broiled shrimp may be the most adaptable recipe ever. You can browse through your dry spices and create your own mix. Make them spicy or mild. Try rubbing the shrimp with gochujang, the Korean chili paste. Toss them with melted butter, lemon and parsley – maybe add a little fresh grated ginger for zip.
No matter what I do, I usually finish them with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
BROILED SHRIMP WITH SHAVED ZUCCHINI AND PECAN SALAD
For the shrimp
Quarter cup extra-virgin olive oil or your oil of choice, plus more for greasing the pan
One tablespoon cane syrup
One teaspoon Sriracha
One-and-a-half pounds shrimp
Three large cloves garlic, minced
Two teaspoons Creole seasoning, or to taste
Half teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Half teaspoon sweet paprika
Three tablespoons fresh lemon juice
For the salad
One teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Three tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Three tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Two teaspoons cane syrup
Quarter teaspoon kosher salt
Quarter teaspoon ground black pepper
One pound zucchini
Half cup lightly packed mint leaves, torn
Half cup lightly packed basil leaves, torn
Quarter cup pecans, toasted and chopped
Shaved Parmesan cheese (optional)
For the shrimp: Set the oven rack five to six inches from broiler and turn on the broiler.
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, cane syrup and Sriracha. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with a little oil. Place the shrimp on the baking sheet and pour the oil mixture over them. Sprinkle with the garlic, Creole seasoning, pepper flakes and paprika and toss, using your hands, until well coated. Arrange the shrimp in a single layer.
Broil three to four minutes, until the shrimp are opaque and just turning a bit brown on top. Do not flip.
Sprinkle the lemon juice over the shrimp and toss to combine. Transfer shrimp to a platter. Using a rubber spatula, scrape any bits or juices from the pan. Add to the shrimp and set aside.
For the salad: In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon zest and juice, oil, syrup, salt and pepper. Using a Y-peeler or mandolin, shave the zucchini from top to bottom into thin ribbons, rotating the zucchini as you go. Stop shaving when you reach the seeded core. Discard the cores.
When ready to serve, whisk the dressing, then add the shaved zucchini, mint, basil and pecans and gently toss until evenly coated.
Serve the shrimp and salad separately; or transfer the salad to a platter, top with the broiled shrimp and pan drippings and sprinkle with additional pecans and cheese, if using.