Read the reviews for this recipe and you'll understand why I had to try it out and why I've been yearning to eat at this restaurant for the first time on its grand re-opening this summer. The words 'shrimp soup' don't sound particularly appetizing to me but the reviews for a restaurant that serves this one thing and this one thing only have me very intrigued.
No one's exactly sure what the secret ingredient is. There are tons of variations suggested in the reviews with everyone trying to figure out just the right combinations of ingredients to nail the original. Use beer not wine! Use cheap beer not the good stuff! Stir in some milk at the end! Well, I took their advice and used beer instead of wine but I went for the good stuff because I wanted to sip the leftovers.
This is essentially a rich and spicy long-simmered buttery and brothy tomato soup. Before you attempt it for an after-work dinner one night, be forewarned: it simmers for three hours. That's right. Three hours. And you'll probably want to cut corners like I did, thinking oh two hours oughta do it, but it really does need that three hours of simmer-time. I taste-tested in the first hour and it was just meh. The second hour it was starting to come together. But in the third hour, something magical happens and the soup really comes alive.
I used fresh rosemary and freshly-caught sidestripe shrimp.
Shrimp shells are both kinda gross and kinda pretty:
It's been a cool and foggy summer thus far and while I like that sort of weather, the thought of spending a sunny sand-between-my-toes day at the beach in Los Angeles sounds just as tempting as a bowl of this legendary soup in all its glory, served up by rockabilly waitresses with tattoed arms.
For now, here's my version of the recipe:
Killer Shrimp Soup
In a large pot, combine broth, rosemary, garlic, pepper, celery seed, fennel seed, clam juice, tomato paste, and butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Stir beer and worchestshire into the soup, and continue to simmer and occasionally stir 2 hours.
Just before serving, stir in shrimp. Continue cooking 3 minutes, or until shrimp are opaque. Serve with bread for dunking.