Inspiration: When Brandon and I lived in Cleveland several years back, there was this tiny little restaurant called Nighttown that I wish we had frequented more often. Being in college, we didn’t spend too many fancy nights out, but one night I had an English Department dinner at Nighttown that afforded us the opportunity to go there. Wonderful little images stick out in my head – a dark and cozy room, white table clothes, duck in orange sauce. When hunting around for a St. Patrick’s Day recipe for this year’s meals that was a little different than the standard fare that we always see here in America (though I love all of those dishes, too, as you can see from my previous posts), I was excited to run across a recipe from Nighttown for Dublin Lawyer, which is basically lobster in a butter, cream, and Irish whiskey sauce. Doesn’t that sound great? My wallet disagreed with me when I saw the lobster prices at the grocery store, though, so I decided that shrimp in a butter, cream, and whiskey sauce sounded pretty fabulous, too.
What we Loved: The flavors in this recipe are subtle but distinct. Fresh, succulent shrimp and a cream sauce that is both a touch sweet (from the whiskey) and a touch spicy (from the cayenne pepper). Before this meal, Brandon and I had never bought a bottle of Irish whiskey, and we were somewhat surprised with its sweet, creamy scent and flavor, which is very non-coincidentally reminiscent of the sweet and creamy alcohol flavor that is in a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream. It was a very pleasant surprise and very different than other kinds of whiskey that we have tried. I always love the flavor of sweeter alcohols paired with seafood (such as sherry, marsala, or madeira), and this was another fine example of that pairing. With a good amount of cayenne and paprika in the sauce, too, there was also a great kick of heat that complimented the rest of the dish beautifully.
Helpful Hints: The only adjustment that I would make would be to add more butter (as was actually called for in the original recipe) and more Jameson. I think more butter would make the sauce slightly richer, which I think would be a good thing, and extra Jameson would make that sweet whiskey flavor just a little more pronounced. As it was, the flavors were great but a touch on the subtle side. I would maybe recommend 6-8 tablespoons of butter and 1/3 cup Jameson.
Shrimp in Jameson Cream Sauce
Source: Adapted from Nighttown Restaurant in Cleveland via Rachel Ray
4 tablespoons butter, softened
Scant 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or less, to preference)
1 teaspoon paprika
8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup diced onions
1 lb shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup Jameson
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1. Combine the butter, cayenne, and paprika. Place into a saute pan, and melt over medium heat.
2. Add the mushrooms and onions, and cook until softened and slightly browned. Season well with salt and pepper.
3. Take the pan off of the heat, and add the Jameson. Return to the heat, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan for just a few seconds until the whiskey is nearly evaporated.
4. Add the cream, and cook until reduced by half and thickened.
5. Add the shrimp, and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through.