A specialty of Charleston and the Carolina Low Country, this is a rich puree of sautee shrimp, lots of sweet butter, sherry and spices. Ideal spread on toast points for cocktails or on white bread for tea sandwiches. A truly southern way to enjoy shrimp paste is stirred into hot grits and served with toast as a breakfast or supper dish.
When I serve shrimp butter on toast for cocktails, I use Pepperidge Farm Very Thin White Bread toasted at 200 degrees in the oven for about 1 hour. You can make these early in the day and store in a tin until ready to serve.
Yield: 2 1/2 cups
2 sticks ( 1/2 pound) unsalted butter
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup sherry
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1.In a large skillet, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter until it foams. Add the shrimp and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper. Cook over high heat, stirring, until the shrimp are pink and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a food processor.
2.Return the skillet to high heat. Add the sherry, lemon juice and cayenne and cook until reduced to 3 tablespoons, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the liquid over the shrimp and process until very smooth.
3.With the machine on, add the remaining butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, and process until smooth and silky. Transfer the shrimp paste to a serving bowl and let cool. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface and refrigerated for at least 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving.
The shrimp paste can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Adapted from Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock
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