Do you boil these dudes with their heads still on?

I really want to know your answer to that question. You'll find out what I'm talking about in, like, 2 seconds. One nanosecond, if you're a fast reader.

During the Season Finale, Part One, Sheldon made spot prawns. He actually said the little dudes spoke to him and said, "Psssst. Pick me! Pick me!"

Here is a spot prawn:

Picture from Quest Food Exchange.

Spot prawns are biologically shrimp according to this site. Here's how defines the two:

  • Shrimp (i.e. pink, brown, spot prawns) have branching gills, a side plate that overlays segments in front and behind, and carry their eggs outside of their bodies beneath their tails.
  • Prawns (i.e. bay, tiger, deep-water, fresh water, ridgeback shrimp) have lameller gills, side plates that overlap tile-like from front to back, and carry their eggs inside their bodies near their tales.

  • Sheldon made "sashimi spot prawns, court bouillon, radish and Asian herbs". Sashimi is thinly sliced, raw seafood. (Did you know that "sushi" only refers to the sweet, vinegared rice? That's what this HuffPost food blogger said here, so it must be absolutely true.)

    So, that's what Sheldon made.

    While I was watching the show, I was kind of giving myself a pat on the back because I thought, "Huh. I sort of made something that Sheldon made. I bet he boiled those shrimp with their heads on."

    Turns out that he served them raw. (Pretty sure he took the heads off, but I can't be 100% certain. I went to a restaurant recently where I ordered shrimp and grits. THE SHRIMP STILL HAD THEIR DADGUM HEADS ON.)

    Did you catch the part where I said "boiled those shrimp with their heads on"? That sounds really gross, right? I would have never done it, but I kind of accepted a dare from Robert Medina, the author of If You Can't Stand The Heat...A New Orleans Firefighter's Cookbook. He sent me this cookbook last year, which I wrote about here. Recently, he sent me "Flashover Seasoning". This was something that he told the readers to concoct themselves but then decided to package after many requests. It's great because it has a really nice flavor but only 4% sodium.

    Flashover Seasoning. Source

    During my Twitter conversations about Top Chef, the best way to boil shrimp somehow came up. I always take the shells off, clean the shrimp and then boil them in some type of seasoning. I apparently had it all wrong. THE HEADS WERE SUPPOSED TO STAY ON. Well, at least in some Lousiana circles.

    Ew, ew, ewwwwwwwwww, right?

    Mr. Medina assured me that there was no other way to eat them. I can hardly stomach the reason that the shrimp are tastier this way, so will just give you two words: fat, head. AHHHHHH!!!! I guess another reason is that, when the shell is on, the flavors get trapped underneath the shell and get held up against the shrimp so that the flavor fully soaks in (???????).

    So, I tried it using the Barbecue Shrimp recipe that he sent to me.

    (The whole time my husband would walk by and say things like, "I think you misunderstood him." "Are you sure you weren't supposed to take the heads off?" "Are you sure you weren't supposed to take the shells off first?" "Are they almost done?" My kids just said, "I'm not eating that!" They did. They so did.)


    Are you grossed out?

    Well, that's not after after. I mean, I still had to chop the heads off those suckers and peel them. Some were harder to peel than others and I'm thinking that is because I boiled them too long? It may have something to do with the fact that I was drinking the ingredients here and there, too. (The recipe called for dark beer. Oh, I didn't drink that much. Quit your judging.)

    THIS is how Mr. Medina serves it when he makes it. This is his picture. There was no way I could serve it like this to my 4- and 8-year-olds. They would have freaked out. I would eat it this way, though, now that I know how good it tastes!

    The shrimp were gooooooooood. After I got over their heads and all that, the recipe was very easy, too. The sauce was so good that I wanted to eat it like soup. We all dipped our bread in it and poured some over the white rice, too. You can find the ingredients for Sheldon's sashimi spot prawns below (I just wanted you guys to check that out) and the recipe of the barbecue shrimp below that.

    (Everyone's got some sea asparagus in their refrigerators, right?)
  • 4 spot prawns, shelled and deveined, reserve heads on side
  • 1 breakfast radish, julienned
  • Half ounce sea asparagus
  • Juice of 1lemon
  • 2 ounces lemon-pressed olive oil
  • Micro Thai basil
  • Micro mint
  • Micro shiso
  • Micro cilantro
  • Crispy chicken skin (see recipe below)
  • Court Bullion (see recipe below)
  • Maldon Salt
  • Court Boullion:
    • Heads of Spot Prawns
    • 1/2 cup Canola Oil
    • 1 quart shrimp shells
    • 1 bulb fennel, julienned
    • 2 cups Chardonnay
    • 1 pound leek, white parts only, chopped
    • 1 pound yellow onions
    • 1 gallon brown chicken stock
    • 8 sprigs thyme
    • 1 tablespoon black peppercorn
    • 2 bay leaves
    Crispy Chicken Skin:
    • 2 pounds chicken skin, from breast
    • Maldon salt

    The directions on how to make it can be found here.

    You should be able to make this tonight, right? I know you've got Maldon salt on hand and plenty of micro shiso. Everyone has got that. (If you don't, ask your neighbor. No, not that neighbor. The other neighbor.) Also, can we pretend that we never read that last part about the crispy chicken skin? AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

    If you are in the mood for New Orleans Barbecued Shrimp (which is not made on a grill!) and want to actually watch him make it, you can see him whipping them up on a cooking show right here. He did a segment for Studio10. Here is the recipe:

    1/2 cup of olive oil
    3 pounds of shrimp (very large and head on, 10 count shrimp are preferred)
    3 sticks of unsalted butter
    5 tablespoons of Flashover Seasoning (or your favorite Creole Seasoning)
    1/2 bottle of dark beer
    1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
    3 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
    1 six-inch long fresh rosemary sprig

    In a large frying pan, put in the olive oil and turn on the heat. Sauté the garlic in the olive oil along with one tablespoon of the Creole seasoning. Cook for about two minutes. Add the butter and let it melt. When it slightly browns, pour in the beer, Worcestershire sauce, another tablespoon of the Creole seasoning, and toss in the rosemary sprig. Mix well and bring up to a moderate heat.

    Now put in the shrimp and sprinkle them with the remaining three tablespoons of the Creole seasoning. Cook until the shrimp turn pink. Make sure to mix and toss frequently to cover the shrimp with the butter sauce while they are cooking. When the shrimp is cooked through, remove the rosemary sprig and discard. Serve immediately in individual bowls with plenty of French bread on the side for dipping.

    So good, y'all!

    He said he would be happy to send TWO of you a bottle of the Flashover Seasoning, which is a very important part of this dish. Yum! All you need to do is leave a comment below and like his Facebook page here. His Facebook page contains lots of pictures and funny one-liners that anyone would enjoy, but especially you foodie types.
    I am required to disclose that I am a Bravo-sponsored blogger. All opinions are my own. All of my Top Chef posts can be found HERE. Thanks for any shares, tweets, likes, etc. I appreciate them all very much!

    bravo, top chef

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