Kenny Shopsin invented this sandwich — one of hundreds of items on his six-page, single-spaced menu — for a customer named Greg who is "trapped in shrimp land." Verbiage like that makes Eat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin a riveting book.
The cookbook/memoir by the eccentric owner of Shopsin's in New York reads like a weird friend dictating his home "recipes" to you. Naturally, the recipes sound weird, sometimes even off-putting, but this shrimp sandwich is wonderfully and weirdly delicious. I followed the directions almost to the letter but threw on some butter lettuce for good measure to cut the buttery, creamy richness and hint of hot sauce.
Enjoy Shopsin's recipe — sharp-tongued instructions included! — when you read on.
Gulf Pride Sandwich
- 1/4 pound small shrimp, thawed if frozen
- 1/2 cup GA Barbecue Sauce (Srirachi, Frank's Hot Sauce, black pepper, apple cider vinegar: "Start with an equal amount of Srirachi and Frank's Hot Sauce and stir them together in a bowl. Add what you think will be too much black pepper and thin the sauce out with cider vinegar.")
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 2 recipes of Garlic Bread (2 10-inch baguettes, halved, each coated in 2 T. butter, 1 t. grated Parmesan cheese, 1/4 t. minced garlic, 1 T. chopped parsley, heated in the broiler until cheese is browned)
- 1/3 cup feather shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 ripe Hass avocado, thinly sliced
Makes 2 sandwiches.
- In a small stainless steel bowl, mix the shrimp, including any juice released from them when they thawed, in a small bowl with the barbecue sauce and a few tablespoons of chicken stock. Add more stock if necessary to make a loose enough sauce to coat the shrimp. Heat a large saute pan or griddle over high heat until it is very hot. Invert the bowl on the griddle, leaving the bowl to cover the shrimp until they are cooked through, about 2 minutes.
- Make the Garlic Bread according to the recipe, but in addition to the regular ingredients, add the cheddar cheese to the cheesy mixture.
- If you are serving 4 people, cut each piece of Garlic Bread in half. Spoon the shrimp mixture in an even layer on the bottom half of each piece. Place the wedges of avocado in the spaces between the shrimp. Serve the sandwiches open-faced, with the other halves of the garlic bread placed parallel to those with the shrimp on them.
We do not cut this sandwich. People are forced to participate in its service by handling it at the table, and everyone has his way. Greg eats it by cutting off a piece of both baguettes and making one small sandwich at a time. He then eats some of it as an open-faced sandwich. He also has a habit of reaching over and grabbing food from other people's plates who are sitting with him and puts his findings on top of the non-shrimp-covered Garlic Bread.