2 sticks real butter or margarine
1 cup coarsely chopped green onions
1 cup coarsely chopped bell peppers
1 cup coarsely chopped celery
2 cups coarsely chopped onions
8 cloves finely chopped garlic
2/3 cup diced carrots
5 lbs. headless shrimp (21-25 count)
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. salt
3 Tbsp. Frank Davis Seafood Seasoning
1 Tbsp. coarse-ground black pepper
2 tsp. crushed red pepper
3 Tbsp. sweet basil
2 Tbsp. paprika
¾ cup cocktail sherry
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
¾ cup finely chopped parsley
Start by preheating an 8-quart, heavy aluminum or cast iron Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Then drop in the butter or margarine and melt it down until it starts bubbling and foaming—but do not let it burn!
Next, turn up the heat to high, add all the chopped vegetable seasonings (except the parsley) and cook them rapidly—and continually—in the melted butter for about ten minutes. You will notice that as the ingredients wilt the yellow tint of the butter will turn to a pale green color. That’s the vegetable butter base. It’s what makes this dish so savory!
Now drop in the raw shrimp, along with the bay leaves, salt, seafood seasoning, peppers, sweet basil, paprika, wine, lemon juice, and citrus zest and immediately stir everything together into the vegetable-butter mix so that every single shrimp is thoroughly coated. I suggest you stir for at least three minutes. Then once the shrimp are coated, cover the Dutch oven and cook—still on high heat—for about three to five minutes or so.
The next time you uncover the pot, you will notice a sauce beginning to form—this is natural shrimp juice mixing with the vegetable butter. Stir again, and when you have everything mixed, taste the sauce for seasoning and make whatever adjustments you want. Now, cover the pot once more and cook for another three to five minutes (or until you begin to see the shrimp meat breaking away from the shells). Hint: a slight air-space will form along the dorsal (upper) part of the shrimp. That’s your best indicator that they’re done. Don’t overcook or the shells will stick and the shrimp will be hard to peel!
Finally, remove the pot from the heat, put the cover back on, and let the shrimp "steep" for about 10 minutes in the sauce to pick up the full flavor of the seasonings before you serve them.
I suggest you serve the shrimp with a couple of boiled new potatoes or open-face over a six-inch piece of French bread (which, of course, you ladle well with the sauce), alongside an authentic tossed Italian salad made with extra virgin olive oil, tarragon vinegar, imported anchovies, and grated Romano cheese.
Variation: This dish may be prepared with heads-on as well as headless shrimp…but it should not be done with peeled shrimp. Peeled shrimp tend to become tough and rubbery when cooked this way.
To serve this dish as an elegant dinner party entree, remove the shrimp from the sauce, peel them and set them aside. Then strain the sauce, reheat it in a skillet to a gentle boil, and cream it with extra butter (or cornstarch mixed with chicken stock) until it thickens, shines, and glazes. When you’re ready to eat, drop the peeled shrimp back into the hot sauce and serve them over creamed potatoes, rice or pasta.