Shrimp Oil

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My wife doesn’t like eating shrimp still in the shell.  As much as I try to convince her that the shell is where all the flavor is, she just doesn’t want to be bothered.  Her loss, my gain.  Every time we eat shrimp, I peel them before cooking them and stash the shells in the freezer.  Once I have an adequate amount, I use them to make shrimp oil. The shrimp oil can be used to garnish any seafood that you are serving up.  Drizzle it on paella, or over perfectly grilled head-on prawns.

I can’t take credit for this idea.  I adapted this recipe from one taught to me by a chef I worked for.  But I believe it can eventually be traced back to the shrimp grits dish served at the late great WD~50.

Just beware that shellfish is an allergen, so the oil should be used judiciously and your guests should be aware of its presence.

I present this recipe to you as more of a loose guideline than an actual recipe.  Feel free to adjust as you see fit and scale down as necessary.

Shrimp Oil – yields 1 qt

Ingredients

1 qt shrimp shells
1 qt vegetable or other neutral oil
1/2 cup carrot, very small dice
2 clove garlic
2 sprig thyme

Steps

  • Everybody in the pool!  Put all ingredients into an appropriately sized pot and heat until the ingredients start to bubble.
  • Turn down the heat until you can maintain a light and steady bubbling.
  • Cook for at least an hour.  The shrimp shells should be crispy and brittle and the carrots should be shriveled but not burnt.  (caution – oil is hotter than you think)
  • Strain through a coffee filter or at least a fine meshed strainer.
  • Let cool and store in fridge or freezer.

Pro-tip: throw some salt on the shells and eat them like chips, as I am literally doing this very second.

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