In South Carolina, shrimp is more than just another meal. It’s part of the state’s cultural and economic identity. And because of South Carolina’s location and climate, the shrimping season is long and prosperous. With all that shrimp comes a need for new ways to prepare and enjoy them.
One of the original 13 states in the U.S., South Carolina has a longstanding love affair with these bottom-feeding crustaceans. According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the state is home to three species of commercially harvested shrimp: brown shrimp, white shrimp and pink shrimp.
When it comes to eating these sweet-tasting, succulent critters, Mercury Pro Team member Carter Andrews knows how to prepare them in ways that will have your taste buds begging for seconds.
For this Cook Your Catch recipe, the host of TV’s “The Obsession of Carter Andrews” prepares them with an absolutely gorgeous creamy red peppers sauce, brought to life with bacon, garlic and an array of fresh herbs. Served over pasta or with a baguette for dipping, it’ll make you wonder where this dish has been your whole life.
- 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 6-8 green onions, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 pound bacon, cut into 1-inch strips
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 pounds jumbo-sized shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 5 red peppers
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cups cream
- 1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 1 stick butter
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
Start out by chopping the basil, rosemary, green onion and thyme. When you have everything chopped up, combine these ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Next, cut the bacon into 1-inch pieces and mince the garlic with a good sharp knife. Once done, combine the two in a second bowl, and like the first one, set it aside as well.
If you've bought fresh shrimp, you'll need to clean, peel and devein them. And if you aren’t familiar with the process, check out this Dockline blog where Andrews shares the easy-to-follow steps.
With your shrimp properly prepped, it’s time to make the red pepper puree. Get started by preheating your oven to 450 degrees. After washing your peppers, cut them in half, lay them skin side up on a baking sheet and place them into your preheated oven.
Once the skins become wrinkled and the peppers are somewhat charred in appearance, remove them from the oven, place them into a bowl, and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Covering the peppers in this way will allow them to continue to steam and soften while cooling.
When your peppers have cooled down enough that you can safely handle them, remove the skins with your hands. Note, it isn’t necessary to remove every bit of skin. In fact, as Andrews points out, leaving a little bit on will add a nice richness to the color of the sauce.
Once you have most of the skin removed from the peppers, place them into your blender container, add about 3/4 cup olive oil and blend on a high setting until you have a smooth puree.
Place a large pan over medium heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Then, add your chopped bacon and garlic, and sauté them together for a few minutes, allowing some of the fat to cook out of the bacon and a bit of the bite to cook out of the garlic.
Next, add the shrimp to the pan. Sprinkle a bit of salt on the top, along with a few shakes of red pepper flakes. Then, add the thyme, rosemary, green onion and basil. After around 2-3 minutes, flip the shrimp over and let them cook another 2-3 minutes. At this point, they should have an opaque white color to them – a great indicator that they are ready to come off the heat and be placed into a large bowl.
Now, turn your burner down to low, and in the same pan that you cooked the shrimp, add a half stick of butter and the red pepper puree. To ensure that you get all of that wonderful red pepper puree into the pan, splash a little bit of water inside the container, swish it around and then pour the contents into the pan. Crack a bit of black pepper on top, add a few more sprinkles of salt, the cream, and then add the shrimp and herbs back in. Next, add the other half stick of butter, and give everything a nice stir until thoroughly blended.
Let all of that simmer for a few more minutes. Doing so will allow your sauce to reduce a bit more so that it thickens to a nice creamy consistency. Next, add the parmesan cheese to give the dish an added layer of complexity. The parm will also allow the dish to further thicken.
You’re now ready to dish out your shrimp into some bowls. You can choose to serve it over your favorite pasta, or like Carter, you can let the dish speak for itself, using a nice baguette to soak up all of the exquisite flavors. Oh, and don’t forget to call your guests to the table – this one is simply too good not to have an audience. Bon appétit!
For more information about Carter Andrews and “The Obsession of Carter Andrews” TV series, visit TheObsessionofCarterAndrews.com. You can also follow Andrews on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.