I never touch farmed shrimp. Wild shrimp have so much more flavor, are raised naturally, and without antibiotics or other additives. Obviously, these were the shrimp eaten by our ancestors, (not the modern farmed version). However, most of the shrimp available in the U.S. is farmed, often imported from farms in Thailand or Vietnam, under conditions that have been criticized by some authorities. Fortunately, U.S. Wellness Meats has some excellent frozen wild shrimp available, and this shrimp is perfect for this recipe.
I have experimented with several traditional Spanish dishes for sautéed shrimp. Some combined shrimp with garlic and a touch of hot pepper. Others combined shrimp with mushrooms. And there are many variations on both recipes, some using paprika. All of them use a fair amount of olive oil to sauté the shrimp. All were good, but none were special. This one is special, in my opinion, and combines shrimp, garlic, mushrooms, paprika, hot pepper, olive oil, and my own addition—butter. I like it the best.
I want to share an important tip for thawing frozen shrimp. Take them out of the freezer for 3 hours, then place them in a colander, and run a gentle stream of cool water over them, rotating them under the stream until they are thawed. It only takes a few minutes. This is best done with plastic gloves, to protect your hands against any sharp edges. If you use another method, it is likely that the water released by the thawing will soak into the shrimp, and the shrimp will be soggy when cooked.
Another tip for cooking frozen shrimp, an old one that is well known by many cooks, is to place the thawed shrimp in a bowl, and sprinkle them lightly with sea salt. This really improves the flavor, and makes them taste fresher.
I might mention that eating shrimp during the holiday season, especially New Year's Day, is believed to bring good luck for the new year by many cultures. It certainly is a delicious theory to try out!
Serves 2 to 4.
1 pound U.S. Wellness Meats wild caught raw brown shrimp, thawed
1 teaspoon coarse unrefined sea salt
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish
4 tablespoons pastured butter
6 cloves organic garlic, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon hot chili flakes
1 teaspoon mild paprika, preferably Spanish, (smoked paprika is also great in this recipe)
1 cup crimini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
- Place the shrimp in a bowl and sprinkle with the sea salt. Stir well, and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
- Place the olive oil and the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Heat until the mixture is hot and bubbly.
- Raise the heat to medium high, and immediately add the garlic, chili flakes, and paprika. Stir the spices into the butter and oil, mixing well, for about twenty seconds.
- Add the shrimp, and stir-fry until the shrimp turn opaque, about 2 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms, and stir-fry until the mushrooms are cooked, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Stanley Fishman is a cookbook author and blogger who is an expert on cooking grassfed meat. Stanley uses traditional flavor combinations and cooking methods to make the cooking of grassfed meat easy, delicious, and tender. Stanley has written two cookbooks that make it easy to cook grassfed meat —Tender Grassfed Meat: Traditional Ways to Cook Healthy Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue: Traditional, Primal and Paleo. Stanley blogs about real food and the cooking of grassfed meat at his blog Tendergrassfedmeat.com.