Shrimp Butter - An Easy make-ahead Appetizer
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Shrimp Butter - An Easy make-ahead Appetizer
We don't know about you, but shrimp sounds like a special occasion protein.
Boiled shrimp, peeled and eaten shrimp, fried shrimp sandwiches, shrimp cocktail, shrimp scampi – each of these dishes evokes a different event and setting for me, and they are all places I want to be.
This Butter Shrimp is the perfect New Year's Eve party food.
Somewhere between a compound butter and a sauce, it features finely chopped shrimp in a rich, creamy butter to be enjoyed on crackers or baguette slices.
For this deliciously retro party snack, we turned to a true foodie icon: James Beard.
Originating in his 1972 book American Cookery, this version gets a little closer to the key spices of shrimp cocktail, with celery seed and Worcestershire sauce for that signature flavor.
Guests will revel in the novelty of a dish called Butter Prawns and then sell themselves on their deliciousness.
A little shrimp goes a long way here, and best of all, the effort is minimal AND it all comes together in one bowl!
Don't skimp on the good things
Good quality shrimp are sweet and tender, and right up there with the venerable lobster, in my opinion.
Like most seafood and meats, the difference in quality is reflected in the price you pay; so considering the name is on the shrimp, make sure you buy the best you can afford.
The Gulf-caught shrimp is my favorite and I would generally recommend going to the freezer section over the fish counter.
Shrimp are super perishable and are always frozen immediately upon capture. The fancy shrimp on ice behind the glass?
That's the same bag you'll find in the freezer section, just defrosted for who knows how long.
Precooked shrimp are always bland and rubbery, so I suggest buying them raw and simply blanching the shrimp in very salty water for a few minutes until cooked through.
The quality requirement also applies to butter! The cost differential between average butter and amazing butter is usually a few dollars, and I promise it will make all the difference.
For great butter that is widely accessible and affordable, my favorite is Kerrygold! But feel free to buy the best butter you can find and afford it.
Butter shrimp is great spooned right into your mouth, but other than that my favorite way to eat it is spread on the iconic cracker.
Savory is crunchy, light, and a bit salty, a perfect complement to the rich butter.
If you choose to serve it this way, be sure to take it out of the fridge a few hours before the party to ensure it's room temperature and spreadable.
Also, add it to pasta, scrambled eggs, or tucked into grits! Spread it on white bread to make tea sandwiches, or even dip celery and carrots in if you're feeling virtuous.
- 1 small white onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, shelled (see recipe note)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to salt the water
- 1 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
Sauté the onion:
In a small bowl, add the chopped onion and cover with cold water and an ice cube. Let the onion sit in the water for at least 5 minutes to mellow out the flavor.
Then drain the water, pat dry with a paper towel, and set aside.
Poach the prawns:
Meanwhile, fill a medium bowl with ice cold water to hatch the cooked shrimp. Put it aside.
Fill a medium pot with salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to a simmer and add the shrimp.
Cook until shrimp are completely pink and firm to the touch, 5 to 7 minutes.
Transfer to a bowl of ice water and let stand until cool enough to handle. Peel and, if necessary, peel. Then dry it and transfer it to a cutting board.
Chop the shrimp:
Chop the shrimp very finely until almost a paste is left.
Mix the butter:
In a large bowl, beat the butter with a wooden spoon until smooth.
Add the remaining ingredients:
Add the minced shrimp and remaining 1 teaspoon salt, lemon zest and juice, Worcestershire sauce, herbs, pepper, and celery seed.
Mash with the back of a fork (or keep using the wooden spoon) until all ingredients are evenly distributed.
Serve immediately with chips (or any light, crisp cracker) or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Let come to room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving; when pliable, beat again until spreadable and creamy.
Shrimp Butter can be made ahead of time and frozen for up to 1 month. To store, place the butter on a plastic sheet and roll it into a roll.
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