Monday, August 12, 2013

Miso Butter Shrimp

I don't know if I've ever mentioned that one of the first times I brought my husband home to my mom & dad's house in Nashville, he freaked out a little because my mom had made something with head - on shrimp in it.  I was a little embarrassed that he found the shrimp to be so unappetizing .  Growing up, we ate all kinds of unusual stuff.  Over the years and even more so lately, I've been happy to see so much of the unusual stuff appear on some great restaurant menus!

Now that I know Jereme's mom better, I can see why he was a little squeamish, though.  She's an outstanding cook, but she only cooks classic Southern food.  Meatloaf, spaghetti, pork chops, and fried chicken.  I've rarely even seen any kind of raw shrimp in her home.  Much less shrimp with heads still on.

At that point in my life, I had already started trying out more sophisticated food in places like Alouettes, Spaule, and Cafe Tapas.  These restaurants are no longer in Little Rock, but they were some of the finest.  When people say that Little Rock is only now emerging in the food scene, I think that they just haven't been here long enough.  The chefs from these upscale establishments, among others, paved the way for many great locally owned restaurants with extraordinary menu items that pleased those of us looking for impeccable new flavors that we couldn't create on our own at home.  But there was a recession.  The higher priced restaurants struggled while the mid - priced venues fared pretty well.  Some of the greatest chefs moved on to other ventures.  So that left us with many, many ordinary restaurants still around - representing Little Rock's food scene.

But the ebb and flow of Little Rock's food scene now brings us flourishing new restaurants in the upturn, as expected, because Wall Street promised that our waning portfolios and 401K's would bounce back.  (I know I wish I'd hung onto my stock options.)  Oh well, we still have my husband's...

Some of the top chefs in the country love head - on shrimp.  Cooking it inside its shell keeps it juicy and rich in flavor.  I know all this because this time last year, I was blissfully unemployed, spending each and every day at Barnes & Noble reading every single cookbook I could get my hands on.  From the International Cookbooks aisle to the Essential Cookbooks aisle to the Dietary and Weight Loss - walk around B &'ll see I've memorized all the sections.

It's almost boring at Barnes & Noble on the weekends with so few new cookbooks arriving for my perusal.  But at least I have a fun job at the Arkansas Times where I am now so blissfully employed!

Try cooking some shrimp this way.  If you love crawfish, you'll love head - on shrimp.  I think I read in one of Emeril's or John Besh's books how much they love to suck the juices out of the heads.  The eyeballs freak my 8 year old out, but she's easily freaked out.  Hopefully she'll develop better taste when she matures....


  • 1 pound of head - on shrimp, rinsed well in water
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2 tbsp no GMO shiro miso
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 - 2 tbsp worcestershire, to taste
  1. Combine the last 4 ingredients in a small saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium heat and stir well to mix.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place the shrimp in an oven safe dish.  Pour the miso butter mixture over the shrimp.
  4. Cook about 15 minutes until the shrimp looks done.


  1. I loved Spaule. We went there almost every Friday night. The food was awesome and Scott made everyone feel like family. {sigh}

    1. I felt the same way about Cafe Tapas! The food was like no other place in town, and the owner invited regulars to join her for her homemade sangria. Miss that place! Also miss Vermillion, Ferneau, Cassinelli....

  2. We are in the restaurant business here in Little rock and prepare our New Orleans BBQ Shrimp head-on but have hard time convincing our customers to allow us to serve it that way. Usually they request it's removal. You are so right about the flavor.

    1. Pascals Manale in New Orleans serves their BBQ shrimp with the heads intact...I was so excited my first time to eat there! I have been meaning to try the dish at the Faded Rose.