Here's a weeknight recipe inspired by my mother-in-law’s fabulous brown sugar and bourbon salmon, but adapted to use freezer-friendly shrimp instead. The simple marinade works overtime to become a rich, sweet yet savory glaze.
Quick-cooking shrimp make for easy weeknight meals, plus their mild flavor makes them incredibly versatile so that you don't ever have to get bored. I always have a few bags in the freezer — I honestly never buy shrimp “fresh,” which are usually just frozen shrimp that have already been thawed. This means I can always whip up some sort of 10-minute meal. They are a great way to get creative in your kitchen.
Shrimp are so incredibly simple to cook, and yet I've tasted my fair share of bland, rubbery specimens. The trick to not overcooking them, which make them tough, is to err on the side of underdone. I cook them until they are pink on one side, flip, and pull them when they are still a tad translucent. Since they are mixed back into the glaze before serving, you can use this time to make sure they are cooked all the way through.
The best part of this recipe is the sauce. (As sauces usually are.) I love how the complex marinade turns itself into a glossy, luscious sauce without any effort at all. Just crank up the heat the skillet and let the stove do the work. As it bubbles away, the water will cook out leaving behind a silky, flavorful glaze. Pair this with edamame-ginger rice for a stunning, well-rounded weeknight meal.
→ Serve This With: Edamame-Ginger Rice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons bourbon, such as Bulleit or Maker’s Mark
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds peeled and deveined frozen shrimp, thawed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Minced Italian parsley, for garnish
Combine brown sugar, bourbon, olive oil, soy sauce, green onions, and garlic in a medium mixing bowl and whisk thoroughly. Add the shrimp and stir to coat. Chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour, turning occasionally.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Meanwhile, pull the shrimp out of the marinade, shaking off the excess, and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Reserve the marinade.
Add the shrimp to the skillet in a single layer. Cook the shrimp until pink on one side, about 2 minutes, then flip and continue cooking until almost completely pink, but still a little translucent, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Add the reserved marinade to the skillet. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened and glossy, 5 to 7 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Add the cooked shrimp and toss to coat. Once the shrimp is warm, stir in the parsley and serve immediately.
- These shrimp also make a great appetizer! Keep the shrimp marinating until party time, then quickly cook and serve on toothpicks.