Chickie's and Pete's is a Philadelphia institution, famous for their hot shrimp, steamed crabs, mussels in red sauce and crab fries. In anticipation of Mimi Nunu's upcoming visit, I decided to try to replicate their hot shrimp recipe. This was no small task, the recipe is closely guarded and although I have eaten it at the restaurant 1000 times, I just haven't been able to crack the code.
1 pound shrimp (medium or large)
1 box Zatarain's Crawfish, Shrimp and Crab Boil
1 lemon quartered
First, cook the shrimp with the crab boil according to the directions on the box including the quartered lemon, except when it tells you to leave the shrimp in the water after the 1 minute of boiling- don't do this. You'll be cooking it again, so take it out and drain it.
In a saute pan, add enough chili oil to thinly coat the bottom. Add a few glugs of olive oil and a tablespoon of garlic. Add the Italian seasoning- a few generous shakes (or more, to taste). Heat over medium-low heat until it becomes fragrant and turn up to medium-high, being careful not to burn the garlic. As soon as it reaches temperature, add the shrimp and toss for up to 5 minutes until the shrimp are cooked through and coated with the oils and spices.
Serve in individual bowls with some of the pan juices. I didn't do this, but Ishould have- that way, you can peel the shrimp and dip it in the spiced-up oils. The shrimp had great flavor, and three of us devoured them. As I ate, I started a mental tally of my successes and mistakes and have a plan in place for my next attempt.
I wasn't successful at duplicating Chickie's recipe, but I did make something new which turned out well and was definitely worth the effort. It was good enough to make for Mimi- and, with her input, I believe we'll come closer to the Charrocchi family's secret recipe, or at least make some damn good hot shrimp...and the eggs.