Dirty Bon Temps Shrimp

This dish is a guaranteed crowd pleaser! But be warned: because you are leaving the shrimp in their shells, this meal does not kowtow to your prissy friends; they will have to work for their dinner, and they will get a little untidy. So why eat them? Because I guarantee every head-sucking, finger-licking, sauce-sopping moment is worth it!

You guests will be elbow deep in deliciousness, and we know that kind of eating isn’t for everyone. You may earn their forgiveness, however, by providing steamed hand cloths. Maybe even with a fancy slice of lemon atop.

Look for extra large shrimp or larger. And while it is not absolutely essential that you use shrimp with heads intact, I beseech you to do so. The amount of flavor in that head–oh, my!  Heads-on shrimp are not always easy to find. Apparently they aren’t in high demand. Imagine that.

I prefer heads-on, and I also prefer wild-caught. As a girl who spent her summers on the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina and who visits those beaches at every opportunity and who can eat her weight in shrimp, I speak with self-imposed authority: the Atlantic coast produces succulent shrimp that are clean and damn tasty! Vast tide water fluctuation + spartina grass give our crustaceans a definitive sweetness. They are so good they do not need frying or fancy sauces–you can eschew the heavy seasonings and simply eat them naked…or maybe dunked in a little drawn butter. Yowza!

Cooking them to the point of perfection is essential. Most of us around here grew up with this rule of thumb: they are ready when they turn slightly opaque or pink.

But what exactly does that mean in the way of texture? The Food Pornographer says shrimp should be bursty, and I am absolutely smitten with that word!  But that word also begs the question of meaning. Bursty means slightly firm + a bit of snap and bounce + yielding + toothsome + plump. Got it?

For this dish, broiling the shrimp in their shells offers a smoky complexity. The bath of lemon, butter and spices round out the flavor. My friend Izzy absolutely swoons when I invite her over for this treat.

Make sure you provide LOTS of bread to soak up that sauce. I sometimes serve the shrimp and all their succulent juices on a bed of rice. A green salad is always a nice addition, followed by a tangy, palate-cleansing dessert.

This dish pairs well with a sparkling wine or a cold lager.

C’est bon!


If you treat yourself to this recipe, let me know! Tag your photo #nakedepicurean on Instagram so I can celebrate with you!

Dirty Bon Temps Shrimp (for 10)

  • 5         pounds extra large unshelled fresh shrimp, preferably wild- caught with heads on
  • 2         cups of butter, melted
  • ½       cup of finely ground pepper
  • 16       ounce bottle of Italian salad dressing
  • 4         lemons, juiced; rinds reserved



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Layer them in the bottom of a large roasting pan.

3. Combine butter, pepper, salad dressing and lemon juice. Pour over shrimp. Add lemon rinds. Cover with foil.

4. Roast for 5 minutes; stir. Roast for 5-10 minutes more. They will turn pink when they are ready.

 Serve with crusty bread and hot hand towels

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *