Isaac Toups, chef of New Orleans’s Toups’ Meatery and, most recently, Toups South, does not mess around. The menu at his new restaurant offers a whole slew of labor-intensive items like house-made sausages, foie gras terrines and pork rinds that are as complex as they are flavorful. Luckily, he’s shared a home-cook friendly shrimp recipe with us that’s going to kick your dinner game into high gear.
The shrimp gets coated in a fiery and aromatic spice rub composed of toasted ground fennel, black pepper and Aleppo chile flakes. Shallots and blistered tomatoes add a touch acid, but the heat doesn’t stop there: Toups flambées the shrimp in absinthe before finishing them off with a splash of seafood stock and cubes of butter. It’s easier than it sounds, (watch the video) but still wildly impressive.
To learn more, read "Off the Wall."
For the Spice Blend:
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, toasted and ground
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
For the Drunken Shrimp:
1¼ pounds (12 medium-size) shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt, to taste
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium shallot, minced
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup absinthe (preferably Pernod)
¼ cup seafood stock
4 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
1. Make the spice blend: In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients until fully incorporated.
2. Make the drunken shrimp: In the same bowl, add the shrimp and toss until fully coated with the spice blend. Season with salt.
3. In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil over high heat. When the pan is smoking, add the shrimp and sear until golden brown, 1 minute. Flip the shrimp and sear the other sides, 30 seconds. Add the shallots and tomatoes, and cook for 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the absinthe and wait for the flame to disappear, 1 minute. Add the stock and cook for 30 seconds. Turn off the heat and add the butter, stirring the pan until the butter melts completely and emulsifies with the stock. Transfer to a serving dish and serve with toasted French bread.