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Shrimp à l'Américaine


  • 2 pounds large shrimp (about 40), shelled and deveined

  • Sea salt

  • Pepper

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 shallots or sweet onion, very thinly sliced

  • 2 garlic cloves or chinese chives, minced

  • 3/4 cup dry white wine

  • 2 tablespoons Bourbon 

  • 1 star anise

  • One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes

  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne or Datil pepper

  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche

  • Crusty bread, for serving


The shrimp are cooked in three different short stages to build and maximize the flavors. Pay attention, don’t overcook them.


1. Clean the shrimp and devein them when needed. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in the olive oil over moderately high heat. Add half of the unpeel shrimp and cook, turning once, until the start to turn pink, but not cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining shrimp. 

        Peel the shrimp and set aside.


2. In the skillet, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the shallots and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. If allergic, use Chinese chives and the green part of scallions. Stir in tomato paste, star anise and cayenne,and cook until slightly caramelized, about 2 minutes.. Add the wine, the tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.


3. Add the peeled shrimp back to the hot pan, sauté for 1 or 2 minutes moving the pan at all times, add the Bourbon and flambé. Put the tomato mixture back and cook, stirring, until just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes, don’t overcook your shrimp, they would get dry and robbery. Stir in the crème fraîche; season with salt and pepper. Serve with bread.

4. When done, remove from heat and let rest, covered, for 5-10 minutes. Uncover and stir in parsley, dill, lemon zest, and salt and pepper, to taste, Serve immediately.

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