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Drunken Shrimp

Isaac Toups' Drunken Shrimp + Dirty Rice
Isaac Toups' Drunken Shrimp + Dirty RiceNathan Congleton / TODAY
Cook Time:
10 mins
Prep Time:
10 mins

Chef notes

This is a great, quick way to serve beautiful, fresh, head-on shrimp. Got someone coming over in 20 minutes? This is your go-to.

Technique tip: Don't be afraid of the heads — they really make this dish. You don't have to serve them with the heads on, but when you're cooking them, gently crush the heads with the back of a spoon. This squeezes out a lot of extra flavor that amps up the dish.

Swap option:  You can use mild white fish instead of shrimp.


  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon ground Aleppo pepper (or paprika or crushed red pepper flakes)
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • pounds extra jumbo shrimp (about 16 to 20 shrimp per pound), peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil, like canola or grapeseed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup shrimp stock or unsalted fish stock
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Rice, for serving



In a small nonstick pan, toast the fennel seed and black pepper over medium-low heat until aromatic, about 3 minutes. Allow to cool and then grind in a spice grinder. In a bowl, combine the ground fennel and black pepper with the Aleppo pepper and salt. Lay the shrimp on a baking sheet and generously season both sides with the pepper mixture.


Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and sear for 1½ minutes. Flip the shrimp, add the garlic and oregano, and cook for 10 seconds. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, being sure to stir with a spoon to the bottom of the pan.


Add the stock and tomatoes and cook until they are heated through. Crush the shrimp heads with the back of a spoon to release the juices. Remove from the heat and fold in the butter and lemon juice, quickly but gently. Serve over rice.