Why It Works
- The bitter and hoppy flavors of beer cut the richness of the butter and complement the shrimp's natural sweetness.
- Preheating a sheet tray or cast iron allows the shrimp to cook from the top and the bottom.
- Leaving the shell on the shrimp prevents them from overcooking and gives them more flavor.
Shrimp and butter have always been the ultimate combo, but the additions of bitter, hoppy beer paired with a spicy homemade harissa pack this simple dish with flavor. The shrimp are cooked shell-on under a broiler, yielding plump and juicy flesh. The resulting butter and beer sauce is begging to be mopped up with crusty bread. You won't even need a plate for this one, just dig right into the piping hot skillet.
- 1 pound 16/20 shrimp, shell-on, deveined
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 bottle (6 ounces) beer, whatever kind you're drinking
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) butter, room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces) fresh chili harissa (see note)
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces) dried chili harissa
- bread and more beer to serve
Place a sheet tray lined with foil or a large cast iron skillet under the broiler to preheat. Toss the cleaned shrimp with salt. Set aside.
Add the beer and garlic to a small, 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce until it is sticky and only about 3 tablespoons in volume, about 5 minutes. The beer will foam up while boiling. Set the pot askew on the burner to prevent it from boiling over.
Add the butter to the beer one tablespoon at a time while constantly swirling until incorporated and thick, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the harissas.
Pour the butter sauce over the shrimp and toss to combine. Pour the shrimp and all the sauce on the preheated sheet tray or skillet. It will hiss and sputter. Make sure the shrimp is in one even layer and place the tray or the skillet under the broiler until shrimp are opaque and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Serve immediately.
Rimmed baking sheet or cast iron pan, kitchen shears
Store-bought harissa works just as well. Feel free to add more or less to your taste. Other chili pastes that work well in this dish are canned chipotles, sambal, and curry paste.