Frank’s Baby Butterbeans and Shrimp
As is the case with so many bean species, baby limas should be soaked in cold water for at least three (3) hours to soften and tenderize the outer hull. Afterwards, the beans can be drained, the water discarded, and a fresh pot of boiling liquid put on top of the stove (I prefer chicken stock to water).
At this point, you want to have enough stock to completely cover the legumes, say, for about 2 inches over the tops of the beans. Then you bring the stock to a gentle boil, begin adding all the ingredients, and cook the butterbeans nice and easy until the hulls split and the beans become especially tender (and creamy). By the way, while the beans cook, I suggest you get your hot steamed rice ready to serve. When done, simply stash it off to the side until it's time to eat.
2 pounds fresh Louisiana shrimp
4 Tbsp. sweet cream butter, melted
8 strips lean bacon, cooked until lightly crisp
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 cups finely diced onions
1 cup finely diced celery
3/4 cup finely sliced green onions (scallions)
1 pound baby lima beans, washed & picked through
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. ground thyme
2 Tbsp. sweet basil
4 whole bay leaves
8 cups shrimp stock (from heads/shells)
1 Tbsp. Frank Davis Granular Crab Boil or liquid crab boil
Frank Davis Seafood Seasoning (or seal salt & coarsely ground black pepper) to taste
6 cups cooked, steamed white rice
First, rinse the shrimp well under cold running water. Then peel, devein, and butterfly them and set them aside. Next, take the shrimp heads and shells & place them on a pizza pan, drizzle on the 4 tablespoons of butter, and bake them until toasty (about 15-20 minutes) in a 450 degree oven.
When done, add the heads and shells (plus whatever juices accumulate in the bottom of the pan) to a stock pot containing 10 cups of water. Bring the mixture to a rapid boil, then reduce the heat to “simmer” and cook for about an hour until you have approximately 8 cups of reduced, concentrated stock left. Now strain it through a fine sieve, save the liquid, and discard the shells.
Meanwhile, take a 6-quart Dutch oven and put it on the fire. Then in the olive oil, sauté the bacon, onion, and celery together until the vegetables soften and turn brown. Next, toss in the beans, garlic, thyme, sweet basil and bay leaves and mix everything thoroughly. The fire should be on high during this entire process.
At this point, pour in the shrimp stock, sprinkle in the crab boil and seafood seasoning, and stir the pot well, making sure the mixture is uniformly blended. Then bring the beans to a boil…but immediately reduce them to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook covered until rich and creamy (about 2 hours). Stir the pot occasionally.
Finally, about 20 minutes before you’re ready to eat, stir the butterflied shrimp plus their drippings into the beans, season to taste with salt & pepper, cover the pot again, and simmer on low until they turn pink and tender. Do not overcook them though, or they will turn tough and rubbery. When you’re ready to eat, serve several hearty ladles over the steamed hot rice with lots of buttered French bread for sopping!