James Beard’s Broiled Shrimp Appetizer

by Sarah on April 23, 2012

My regular readers probably know all about my love and admiration for Mr. James Beard (1903-1985), American food authority, but if you’re new here, maybe you don’t.  Here’s the deal.  I LOVE THIS MAN.  He was such a champion for food in general, but especially regional American cuisine–and helped regular Americans realize they could eat well beginning in the 40’s and 50’s–writing cookbooks, appearing on some of the first food TV programming and writing about food in what was then primarily women’s (and we’re talking old-school home economics) territory.  He helped launch Julia Child and was a consultant on some major restaurants, including The Four Seasons.  I guess that’s why he’s known as the Dean of American Cookery.

Plus, his recipes are always good.

I have an autographed portrait of Mr. Beard in my kitchen (along with a picture of Nana) for inspiration.  No, it’s not autographed to me, I never met him.  He died when I was only 17.  I sure wish I had though!

I made this simple broiled shrimp appetizer for the Midtown Monthly farewell party last weekend.  It was super easy and tasted good.  Basically, I marinated the shrimp in a mixture of lemon, soy, olive oil and herbs for about half an hour.  Then broiled it.  James Beard says you can do it over coals too, which I think would be amazing—but I was making a few dishes and didn’t want to deal with coals.

Seriously, this took all of ten minutes active time to make.  I used already cleaned and peeled shrimp for ease, but you could leave the shells on if you want–that’s what James Beard wanted me to do.

Make it for your next get-together as an appetizer, or just for dinner for your family with some bread and a salad.

James Beard’s Broiled Shrimp Appetizer---House and Garden Magazine, 1956


  • 20 large shrimp
  • 1 cup good quality olive oil, such as Bariani
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 3 Tbsp fresh tarragon


  • If using shell-on shrimp, cut down the backs of the shells and remove the black veins but leave the shells on.
  • Wash shrimp and place them in a bowl.
  • Pour over the oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, parsley and tarragon.
  • Let marinate for an hour, tossing occasionally.
  • Broil under high heat or over hot coals for 5 minutes, turning at least once.
  • Do not overcook!
  • James Beard says "Have finger bowls and pass plenty of paper napkins".

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