Curtis Stone’s Shrimp Tales

Feast on America's favorite shellfish with simple, delicious ideas from chef Curtis Stone.

Shrimp and white wine
(Photo by Quentin Bacon)

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Steamed, grilled, sautéed, broiled, or baked — shrimp is the nation’s seafood of choice. The average American gobbles up more than 4 pounds of the succulent crustacean per year. Low in calories and high in protein, shrimp is both healthy and versatile, and a perfect companion to fresh spring produce.

When selecting fresh shrimp, look for bright, smooth shells and firm tails and avoid any that smell like ammonia — a telltale sign of spoilage. Fresh shrimp have a two-day shelf life, so cook as soon as possible. Most shrimp sold at markets were frozen, usually right on the boat, and shipped to retailers. Opt for shrimp that’s labeled “individually quick-frozen” (IQF); they don’t stick together and they defrost faster.

The beauty of shrimp is that they cook in minutes, turning pink with bright-red tails on the outside when done. Cooking shrimp in the shell helps prevent overcooking. And save the flavor-­packed shells to create a beautiful stock for a risotto, paella, or pasta.

Guests will devour Shrimp Steamed in Paper with White Wine and Orange elegantly presented in shades of green, orange, and pink. New Orleans “Barbecued” Shrimp with Amber Ale is fun, quick, and delectable. Leaving shells on makes eating it a little messier, so keep a roll of paper towels and lemon wedges on the table when setting the stage for a true shrimp boil party.

Fish for all seasons: Shrimp are harvested year-round and work very well with other light spring ingredients. (Photo by Ray Kachatorian)

Shrimp Steamed in Paper with White Wine and Orange

(Makes 4 servings)

  • 8 ounces French green beans, ends trimmed
  • 12 baby carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 24 extra-large shrimp, peeled, deveined
  • 2 oranges, segmented
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 thyme sprigs

Preheat oven to 400°F and place 2 large heavy baking sheets in oven to preheat. Fold four 24×16-inch sheets of parchment paper in half so that they are 12×16 inches. Cut each rectangle into half-heart shape with center of heart being the fold. Open paper hearts and lay them flat on work surface. Lay green beans tightly together on right side of each paper heart. Lay carrots on green beans so they are perpendicular to green beans. Sprinkle shallots over and around vegetables; then sprinkle vegetables lightly with salt and pepper.
Season shrimp with pepper. Place shrimp on top of vegetables and lay orange segments over shrimp. Sprinkle ginger over, and then drizzle wine over, being careful to keep liquid next to vegetables and shrimp. Place sprig of thyme atop each.

Fold left panel of each heart over fillings to form half-heart shape. Starting from top of each parcel, make small, overlapping pleats to seal open sides and create half-moon shape. Be sure to completely close or crimp package so steam does not escape while cooking. Place four paper packages on preheated baking sheets and return baking sheets to oven. Bake for 14 minutes. (Paper will puff up while baking.)

Remove parcels from oven and let sit at room temperature for 3 minutes. Carefully cut or tear open paper parcels, being careful of steam; transfer parcels to serving plates and serve immediately.

Per serving

  • Calories: 294
  • Total Fat: 2 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0
  • Sodium: 228 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 50 g
  • Fiber: 17 g
  • Protein: 17 g
  • Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 2 lean meat, ½ fruit, 3 vegetables
BBQ Shrimp
Shell game: This down-home classic of shell-on shrimp is quick and delectable. (Photo by Quentin Bacon)

New Orleans “Barbecued” Shrimp with Amber Ale

(Makes 4 servings)

  • 2 pounds (16 to 20 count) extra-large shrimp in the shell
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup amber ale
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce, such as crystal or Tabasco
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • Sliced French bread, warmed or lightly toasted

Using small sharp knife or small sharp kitchen shears, cut down back of each shrimp just deep enough to expose dark vein. Devein shrimp under cold running water, leaving shells intact. Heat large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, then add 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to melt it. Add garlic, sprinkle with cayenne pepper, and season with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Cook for about 1 minute, or just until garlic is tender. Add shrimp and toss to coat well with butter mixture. Add ale, lemon juice, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce and simmer for about 2 minutes, or until shrimp are almost cooked through, turning shrimp after 1 minute. Add remaining 3 tablespoons butter, parsley, oregano, thyme, and rosemary and simmer gently for about 1 minute, or until butter melts and shrimp are just cooked through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer the shrimp and sauce to four wide, shallow bowls. Serve with the bread to sop up the sauce.

Per serving

  • Calories: 479
  • Total Fat: 21 g
  • Saturated Fat: 10 g
  • Sodium: 400 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 28 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 35 g
  • Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 4 lean meats, 4 fat

Curtis shares two more shrimp recipes — Barbecued Shrimp with Olive Oil and Lemon Juice, and Stir-Fried Shrimp with Chilies, Bell Peppers, and Peanut — and tips on segmenting an orange at

Excerpted from What’s for Dinner? by Curtis Stone, Copyright © 2013 by Curtis Stone. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

This article appears in the March/April 2018 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

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