On Tuesday evening, Shane and I returned from a fast trip to New York (City). We were there to catch a taping of The Colbert Report and, let me just say, it was FABULOUS. We had so much fun. I was a big fan before but now, I’m a colossal fan. (Incidentally, tonight's Colbert Report guest is the wonderful Michael Pollan, author of The Ominovore's Dilemma.)
Before we went to the show, Shane, my mother (who lives in the city) and I headed over to the colossal Barnes and Noble in Lincoln Square. I’m not sure how long we were there – two hours? – but I spent the lion’s share of that time in the cookbook section. (I spent the rest of my time trying to find a clip art CD with vintage ad illustrations like these, but to no avail. If you know of any, please let me know.)
There were thousands of cookbooks to choose from: standard names, obscure names, specialty books, ethnic foods, vegetarian, raw foods, modern, vintage – the list goes on. All of this is great unless you go into sensory overload as I do, and then you just stare goggle eyed at the breadth of selection, flitting from one book to another, zigzagging around like a drunk bumble-bee.
So perhaps it was boring that I went home with Paula Deen’s Kitchen Classics, but for whatever reason, it called out to me. The recipes seem similar to my own cooking and baking tastes. (Although I’m not a big fan of using condensed soup in recipes, and Deen does that an awful lot. Still, it’s much better than Snadra Lee’s extensive use of store-bought angel food cake, Cool Whip, and Stoli. )
Deen is not one for using butter sparingly (or sour cream, or cream cheese, or bacon…) but, boy, her recipes sure look good. For my inaugural recipe, I selected her Black Pepper Shrimp. It was a wonderful choice. The shrimp were fresh (a rare occurrence ‘round these parts) and deliciously complemented by the garlic butter. The black pepper adds a nice zing, but an overly heavy pepper flavor is discarded when you toss out the shrimp’s shells.
It’s a messy meal -– shells fill your plate, melted butter coats your fingers -- but well worth it. If you can swing it, eat the shrimp outside on a sunny evening by the beach. Serve with a good white wine or a Corona with lime, and mop up the garlic butter with a slice of crusty bread or a serving of tender rice.
Black Pepper Shrimp
3 lbs fresh shrimp, unpeeled
1 stick butter
2 to 3 Tbsp. chopped garlic
4 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450-degrees F. Wash and drain shrimp, then place in a shallow baking pan.
Melt butter in a saucepan, add garlic and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Pour garlic butter over shrimp and toss to coat.
Pepper shrimp until well covered, then place in the oven and bake until pink (about 5 minutes). Turn, bake a few minutes longer, and pepper again. This will not be good unless you use a heavy hand with the pepper.
Tags: cooking, dinner, Black Pepper Shrimp, seafood, Paula Deen, recipe