Chic Shrimp

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Last week I went with a friend to visit a beautiful little island in South Carolina. Actually, we visited many beautiful little islands in South Carolina in a 2 day span, making me think the whole place is just a bunch of islands grouped together and called a state. My cousins visited live on Dataw, a tiny island tucked in between the marshes and rivers. From their front door, you could literally walk across the street, go over a bridge, and be on another island. It’s not hard to fall in love with that part of the world….and then there’s the food.

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From crab cakes to collard greens, we never had a meal that wasn’t spectacular. The last day there, we went to a charming little seafood market, fabulously named Gay Fish Company. It’s been around for years. The owners proudly display a photo of Tom Hanks, who used their boats in filming the movie Forrest Gump. The shrimp boats were just in and despite my best intentions to sample some local fish; I came away with several pounds of gorgeous shrimp.

The day got away from us as often happens on island time, so for dinner I made a huge pan of New Orleans Barbeque Shrimp that took about 20 minutes to prepare. We spread newspaper on the table and made a mess eating shrimp and dipping bread in the sauce. Not to worry, the mess was easily cleaned up by throwing away the newspaper plus innumerable paper towels, which are the only acceptable napkins for this meal.

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When I got back home I stared thinking about an idea for a more sophisticated, slightly less messy barbeque shrimp, and came up with a new twist. We tried it last night, and although the shrimp weren’t fresh off the boat, we all know that good gulf shrimp never disappoint. The fact that 3 people devoured 2 pounds should bear witness to that (or at least that we’re pigs when it comes to shrimp). Here’s what you do – this is so easy: peel the shrimp and wrap each one in a little piece of prosciutto. I picked prosciutto over bacon because it’s so thin and it browns easily without cooking the shrimp to death. (Plus it was in the fridge.) For the next step, I jazzed up bottled barbeque sauce with just a few ingredients, bourbon, brown sugar, and hot sauce. You don’t have to do that, but I can never leave well enough alone, nor can I pass on a chance to put bourbon in something. Next get your oven nice and hot, brush some sauce on the shrimp and bake it for about 5 minutes. Turn the shrimp, brush on more sauce, bake for 4 minutes. Last of all, broil for a minute to brown. You could do this with skewers on the grill too. I like the added touch of a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, but truly it’s just gilding the lily.

 This was dinner for us with a salad and baked potato, but Dressed Up Barbeque Shrimp would be an impressive little appetizer. You could do everything but the baking/grilling ahead of time. Bet they show up on our Oscar Night Menu.  Hope they show up on your table soon. You can even use real napkins – but my advice is to stick to the paper ones.

Dressed Up Barbeque Shrimp

Ingredients

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2 lb large (26 to 30 per pound) shrimp, peeled and deveined

6 oz prosciutto

1 cup bottled barbeque sauce (any kind will do)

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup bourbon

Several dashes, to taste, of hot sauce

Salt and pepper

Optional: lemon or lime wedge to serve

Directions

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Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with foil (easy cleanup) and spray with cooking spray.

Wrap small pieces of prosciutto around each (see photo).

Place shrimp in prepared pan and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

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In a bowl, combine barbeque sauce, bourbon, brown sugar, and hot sauce.

Brush sauce on one side of shrimp and bake for 5 minutes.

Turn shrimp and brush other side with sauce.

Bake 4 minutes and broil one minute or until lightly browned.

Serve with lemon or lime wedges if desired.

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