This ultra-quick dinner is a celebration of shrimp


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No seafood is more suited to quick, low-stress dinners than shrimp. Whether swimming in a tomatoey stew, scattered into buttery pasta, or served over quick grits, this shellfish has appeared in plenty of 5:30 Challenge recipes.

While the aforementioned shrimp preparations have been delicious, I have found myself wanting a dish that is entirely focused on shrimp. I wanted a recipe that celebrates their texture, and requires little more than bread for sopping up a buttery, briny sauce.

For this all-about-the-shrimp dinner, I’ve taken a basic butter sauce and added zest and spice with a Cajun spice blend and garlic. A couple tablespoons of Worcestershire bring umami into the mix.

You’ll want to use shell-on shrimp. If you’re buying them frozen from the grocery store, look for them labeled “easy-peel.” Keep them frozen until you’re ready to cook. To thaw, place the shrimp in a bowl in the sink, fill the bowl with cold water, and then adjust the faucet water flow so that cold water runs over the shrimp in a slow, steady stream.

Once the shrimp are no longer icy, simply toss them in the seasoning mix and saute them in a mixture of butter, garlic and Worcestershire. When the shrimp turn pink, add a few tablespoons of water, bring it to a boil, then whisk in a touch more butter until it forms a creamy, rich sauce. Bring a bowl of lemon wedges to the table for serving.

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Cajun Shrimp

Cajun Shrimp
  • 1 pound large, frozen easy-peel shell-on shrimp
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun or blackening seasoning
  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  • On the side: Bread and mixed green salad
  • Place the shrimp in a medium bowl and fill the bowl with cold water. Leave the bowl in the sink basin, and turn on the faucet so that a gentle stream of cold water runs into the bowl. Let the water run until the shrimp have thawed, about 15 minutes. (If you haven’t chopped and measured the remaining ingredients, do so while the shrimp thaws. This is also a good time to prepare any side dishes.)
  • Drain the shrimp, then pat very dry with paper towels. Wipe the bowl dry, then return the shrimp to the bowl. Add the Cajun seasoning, and stir well to coat. Season lightly with salt.
  • In a 12-inch skillet, melt half of the butter over medium-high heat. When the butter is foamy, add the Worcestershire sauce and the garlic. Cook, stirring, until the sauce is almost completely evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook, continuing to stir, until they just turn pink, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the water and bring to a boil. Immediately remove from the heat and stir in the remaining butter. Continue to stir until the butter melts into the sauce. Season the sauce to taste with salt, then transfer the shrimp and the sauce to a serving platter. Garnish with lemon wedges. Serve with bread and a mixed green salad. Serves 2.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 414 calories (percent of calories from fat, 47), 47 grams protein, 7 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 21 grams fat (11 grams saturated), 392 milligrams cholesterol, 828 milligrams sodium.


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