Whole Shrimp with Spicy Chorizo Broth

Last winter, I went to a friend's book release party at chic loft space downtown. As we entered the building, the publicists at the door checked us in, then handed us a blank "My name is..." sticker and marker, and instructed us to write down a favorite food or ingredient in the spot where one would typically write one's name.

I did this, and then entered the party which was filled with clever attractive people wearing nametags that said things like "tater tots" or "dark chocolate."

The idea was a clever one, serving as an instant icebreaker since you could easily walk up to strangers, and say things like "Have you tried the caneles at Bouchon Bakery?" or "I make a fantastic veal marsala!"

Instant friends! Or lovers...  Or both...(::she says, with a sly look in her eye::)

My nametag, it should come as no surprise, said "chorizo," on it.  And had we been invited to include a few other things, would also have said "shrimp heads," because that's definitely another one of my loves.

This dish of Whole Shrimp simmered in a Spicy Chorizo Broth is one of those quick, but luxurious dishes that basically BEGS to be shared with friends. Set a plate in the center of the table and invite everyone to dig in. It's messy and sexy and so much fun.

All you really need to accompany it is a warm loaf of crusty bread, some wine, and maybe a salad.

Oh, and a couple dishes for the shells.

And napkins. You'll definitely need napkins, too.

Note that while you absolutely could make this with headless, tail-on, shrimp, the whole ones are really SO much better. They add incredible flavor to the broth, and way more fun to eat.

(And you absolutely, definitely, positively MUST suck on the heads since that is the best part of this whole thing. If you're squeamish about that sort of thing, I'm just going to have to insist that you get over it because you're missing out.)

Love Always Order Dessert?
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Whole Shrimp with Spicy Chorizo Broth
Serves 2 as an entree, 4 as an appetizer

14 whole super colossal shrimp (about 2lbs)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 large garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 pound smoked or cured Spanish chorizo (do not use fresh chorizo), sliced
2 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons butter
4 cups low or no-sodium shrimp or fish stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
Lemon wedges and bread, for serving

Rinse the shrimp under cold running water and pat gently dry, set aside.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the onions and saute for 3-5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the sliced garlic and the chorizo, and saute until fragrant and the chorizo is slightly seared.

Add the paprika, salt, pepper, butter, shrimp stock, and white wine and bring up to a boil, then reduce heat to low, and let simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the broth has reduced by 1/3.

Add the shrimp, cover, and let cook for about 3 minutes, or until the shrimp are bright red and fully cooked. Stir in the fresh cilantro, taste and adjust seasoning as necessary, and serve immediately with lemon wedges and bread for dipping in the broth.

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