Maybe you don’t live someplace where you can dine outside by the docks, enjoying the day’s freshest catch with maybe a fruity cocktail. Well, this Salt Baked Shrimp will help you bring that vibe home. Leaving the head and shells on adds so much flavor and also contributes to that dining al fresco by the ocean feeling. I serve these with a pungent garlicky dip, and it takes just 20 minutes to start devouring these beauties. (Bring some extra napkins to the table!)
One of the little known seasonal treats living in south Florida is having fresh shrimp in the winter. From late December until early February, these delicious briny shrimp are available in limited quantities. Mostly sold at local seafood markets or through commercial fishermen, these shrimp have a sweetness and amazing flavor that just cannot be matched by the frozen IQF shrimp that we all know and love. Thankfully, I’ve also seen fresh farm raised fresh shrimp at my local Costco. And if you live near a well stocked Asian market, they often sell live and fresh seafood as well. So be on the lookout, because these Salt Baked Shrimp are simple and amazing. Let’s get started.
Salt Baked Shrimp Dipping Sauce
This dipping sauce has a lot going for it, and I will be using it for more dishes. (would be great with Sriracha Honey Wings) It has the bright zing of fresh squeezed lime juice, slight richness from the mayo, a pop of umami funk from the fish sauce, a little Thai chili and minced garlic for heat and some sugar to round it out. It’s like a clingy Nuoc Cham; you’re gonna love it.
Give everything a good whisk, and set aside until ready to use.
Use The Whole Shrimp!
Keeping the heads and shells on keeps the delicate meat tender and helps prevent it from overcooking. It also adds tons of flavor! It is essential however that you devein them. These are fairly large shrimp, and the vein can be really gritty. Don’t worry, it’s really simple to do. And by deveining them, we will also be making them super easy to peel when it’s time to eat.
I use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut through the back of the shrimp. Make a shallow snip down the center and follow it though to the tail. You could also use a knife to do the same. When it comes to deveining, I use a toothpick to help pull out the sandy intestine but then use my fingers to gently pull it out. You could also scrape it out with the tip of the knife or clean it out under running water.
Two Ways to Salt Bake Shrimp
The salt here serves a couple purposes-it provides a buffer for the delicate shrimp from the hot pan, and of course it seasons the shrimp as well. This is not the time for your fancy, expensive sea salts. We want really coarse salt here, like Diamond’s or Morton’s coarse kosher salt.
This recipe calls for a lot of salt but you don’t have to throw it out when you’re done. You can save it and use it where you think a little shrimpy flavor would be welcome-kind of like fish sauce. A soup, a stew, a seafood dish, or even stir fries would work. Just make sure to store the salt in the fridge between uses.
I have made this shrimp using both my stovetop and the oven, and I give you directions for both on the recipe card. Whichever method you choose, you will first preheat the salt.
And now the salt baked shrimp are ready to serve! I like to bring them to the table in the pan. They look so striking against the salt:
And as promised, they are very easy to peel. The shells slide right off. And now eat with gusto. We slurp the heads but that just might be my thing!
To really complete your seashore dining experience, serve these with:
Let me know what you think of these Salt Baked Shrimp. Leave a comment and rate the recipe below, and tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!Print
- 12 large head on shrimp (with the head on mine were 9/14 size)
- 1 ½ cups kosher salt or coarse sea salt
- 4 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice (from 2 limes)
- 2 Tablespoon Mayonnaise
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1 thai bird chili, minced
Make the dipping sauce:
- Cut the limes in half and juice them.
- Combine the lime juice, mayonnaise, minced garlic, fish sauce, sugar, cilantro, and chili.
- Whisk to combine and set aside.
Prepare the shrimp:
- With a pair of kitchen scissors, right below the head, snip a shallow cut down the center of the shrimp, until you come to the tail. Set aside and continue cutting the rest of the shrimp.
- Use your fingers or a toothpick to pull out the intestines and grit from the back of the shrimp.
- Dry the shrimp off with some paper towels and set aside.
Stove Top Technique:
- Wrap a heavy shallow pan (mine is a staub 12” cast iron skillet that is 2.5 inches deep) with aluminum foil.
- Pour the salt in the pan. Cover with a lid and heat over medium high heat for 5 minutes until you hear the salt popping.
- Take the lid off and lay the shrimp flat in the pan.
- Again cover the pan with the lid and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the shrimp for 4-5 minutes. The bottom part should be a bright orange but the top will still look a little raw. Flip the shrimp over, cover with the lid, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Serve the shrimp in the pan or transfer to a plate and serve immediately with the dipping sauce on the side.
- Preheat the oven to 400 and move the oven shelf to the center rack. Pour the salt onto a foil wrapped baking sheet (Mine is a quarter size) and shake gently to spread the salt.
- Put the tray into the oven and heat it for 8-10 minutes. The salt will start to turn a light golden color.
- Carefully place the shrimp onto the salt in one layer. Put the tray back into the oven and roast for 7-9 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Serve the shrimp on the baking sheet or transfer to a plate with the dipping sauce on the side.
*The salt can be saved and used for cooking other dishes. I use it for things that have seafood in it or where it wouldn’t be weird to have a slight shrimp flavor. Store the salt in the fridge or freezer.
Keywords: shrimp, salt baked, seafood, shellfish, appetizers, small plates