Peel and Eat Shrimp is Finger Food

Peel and Eat Shrimp

I give finger food the thumbs up, but there are people who recoil at the idea of eating with their fingers. “Fingers,” they say, “well you just never know where they’ve been”. I’m not one of these refined folk. I love the hands-on approach. I like the feel of food. There’s just something special about finger food. It seems both sophisticated and mischievous. Peel and Eat Shrimp is the ultimate finger food. I’m never afraid to dig in with both hands. Besides, I generally know where my fingers have been.

It’s easy to see that there’s something heedless and hedonistic about eating with your fingers. However, Peel and Eat Shrimp and other finger foods feel sophisticated to me too. I think that’s because finger food is often enjoyed while standing at some chic event like a cocktail party.

Peel and Eat Shrimp

Peel and Eat Shrimp can be messy. Peel and Eat Shrimp often force you to lick your fingers in public. Meaning any party that serves Peel and Eat Shrimp is both glamorous and childlike. Exactly what I strive for when entertaining. Boring old grown-ups sit politely while eating– napkins in laps. But us cocktail kids get to slink around the room– glass in one hand, tidbit in the other. It’s that wonderful moment when our past and present selves playfully intertwine in a way that seldom happens at the dinner table.

Despite all the frivolity finger foods encourage, they can be riveting and even a bit dangerous. They’re the perfect excuse to take a nibble of something you may have never thought was quite right for you, or sneak a taste of some forgotten treat you long since swore off. Perhaps a torchon de fois gras? Sure there are political issues attached, but one little thumbprint-sized morsel won’t hurt now, will it? The same goes for Peel and Eat Shrimp– sure they’re messy– but you secretly like messes don’t you?

Wine Pairing

2011 Gentil Hugel Alsace 

2011 Gentil Hugel Alsace
Gentil Hugel Alsace is an interesting pale, lemony green in color in the glass. On the nose, aromas of stone fruit– yellow peach and apricot– are complemented by a veritable bouquet of floral notes– rose, acacia, and jasmine. Spicy cardamom also enters into the mix courtesy of the Gewurztraminer. The palate is rewarded with a dry, light-bodied, […]
Ken Eskenazi

Price $12

Pairs well with appetizers, fish, spicy Asian, Indian, or Mexican food, sushi, sauerkraut, charcuterie, and heavy cheese

I particularly like the fact that finger food is easy to eat all in one bite. Nobody has to see what it is you’re eating, or quite how many either. Don’t tell me you don’t find that just a little bit thrilling. I guess that’s why finger food doesn’t feel like calories. So why not have one more fingerful? Nobody’s looking…

Finger food usually mingles on a communal platter, enticing its intended targets (you and I) to follow suit, whilst licking our fingers. This is the kind of party finger food encourages.

Of course, Peel and Eat Shrimp take a bit more of your attention than most finger food. But that’s part of the charm. Besides I love how the peeling of these spicy little shrimp makes your fingers tingle almost as much as your lips. That’s because my Peel and Eat Shrimp have some heat. In New Orleans, this pan-seared combination of garlic, lemon, and Worcestershire might be called BBQ Shrimp. Which is an odd moniker because these shrimp touch neither smoke nor flame.

The heat in my version comes from the hot sauce– giving this dish a certain macho appeal. I don’t care what gender you are. We all like macho appeal. Especially when it’s served with fine wine. We chose a “Gentil” Hugel from Alsace.

So what do you think about eating with your fingers now? GREG

Peel and Eat Shrimp

Peel and Eat Shrimp 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 2–4Published
peel and eat shrimp


  • 8 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 lemon (thinly sliced)
  • 2 tablespoon rosemary leaves
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 4 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup hot sauce (or to taste)
  • 1 pound medium to large shrimp (unpeeled)
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 pinch freshly cracked black pepper


Heat a large (at least 12-inch) cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter, and cook until melted and foamy, but do not let it brown. Add the lemon slices in a single layer and cook them undisturbed until they begin to brown, about 4 minutes. 

Flip the lemon slices and add rosemary, red pepper flakes, garlic, lemon juice, Worcestershire and hot sauce; bring a simmer. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper then add them to the skillet. They should sizzle as they hit the pan. Cook, stirring and turning often, until they are pink and firm to the touch, about 3 to 4 minutes total. Serve on a platter in a big, help yourself heap.