Killer Shrimp

Killer Shrimp is from the much-loved bar and restaurant in California, named Killer Shrimp. Not everyone is lucky to live nearby, so we have to either hop on a plane or make our own.

Shrimp cooked in a spicy broth in a bowl.

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If you like New Orleans Shrimp and Grits, you are going to love Killer Shrimp. This shrimp is just as flavorful, but is it a bit lighter, as this recipe has a lot of broth.

If you enjoy this dish in the restaurant, you can get it with French bread or rice. I personally like it with rice.

What makes Killer Shrimp so special?

That’s easy. It’s the broth.

This broth is made with fresh rosemary, thyme, celery seed, red pepper flakes, and clam juice. This makes for a very robust, but not too spicy sauce. The sauce is full-bodied, and you will not want to miss a single drop!

The sauce needs to cook for a while, so the flavors really bloom.

Ingredients

Here’s a list of what you need:

  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Fennel seed
  • Celery seed
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic
  • Clam juice
  • Tomato paste
  • Butter
  • Raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

What type of shrimp should you use?

For this recipe, I prefer using a shrimp that is medium or large in size. You do not have to, but I think this sauce really needs a good large shrimp to bite into.

I have a preference for using wild-caught shrimp if it is available. I think wild-caught shrimp has a much better flavor.

How to Make Killer Shrimp

  1. Using a mortar and pestle, partially grind the rosemary, thyme, and fennel seed.
  2. Place the butter into the bottom of a large stockpot over medium heat.
  3. Add the tomato paste and cook until the tomato paste loosens.
  4. Add seasonings, garlic, and clam juice to the stockpot. Stir to combine.
  5. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about one hour.
  6. Just before serving, add raw shrimp and simmer until shrimp are done.

If you have time before you start the recipe, you can enhance the broth with more shrimp flavor.

  1. Simply place clam juice and shrimp shells in a pot, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Pour the juice and shells in a blender in batches, blend until smooth, and then strain the liquid back into the pot.

How to Enjoy Killer Shrimp

  • Dig out a piece of shrimp and eat it.
  • Soak up the broth with the bread and eat that.
  • No utensils.
Shrimp cooked in broth, served with bread.

Love shrimp? Try these recipes!

Favorite Seafood Soup Recipes

Be sure to check out more easy seafood recipes and the best restaurant copycat recipes right here on CopyKat.com!

Thanks to Mimi of Mimi’s Cyber Kitchen for this recipe.

Shrimp cooked in a spicy broth in a bowl.

Killer Shrimp

This killer shrimp is one dish you won't forget. 
4.2 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Seafood
Keyword: Killer Shrimp, Shrimp
Servings: 8
Calories: 238kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon fresh or dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 quarts clam broth (if making with chicken, use chicken broth)
  • 3 ounces tomato paste
  • 4 ounces butter
  • 2 pounds raw shrimp peeled and deveined

Instructions

Prepare the seasoning

  • Using a mortar and pestle, partially grind the rosemary, thyme, and fennel seed. Break the spices up rather than grinding them. In the end, there should still be recognizable pieces of the rosemary, etc.

Prepare the stock

  • Place the butter into the bottom of a large stockpot. Add the tomato paste, and cook until the tomato paste loosens. Add seasonings, and clam juice to the stockpot. Cook over low for about 1 hour.
  • Just before serving, add raw shrimp. Simmer until shrimp are done, stirring, about 2 minutes. 

Serving Killer Shrimp

  • Serve in bowls. Each bowl should contain a serving of shrimp and a lot of broth. The broth should almost completely cover the shrimp.

Recipe Tips for the Cook

If you have the time, get shrimp with the shells and peel the shrimp down to the last joint, leaving that and the tail intact. Add the shells to the clam broth and bring to a boil, then cover and simmer at least 1/2 hour. Pour into a blender in batches and process until smooth. Strain back into the pot. Add herbs and remaining ingredients and proceed with the recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 238kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 316mg | Sodium: 2017mg | Potassium: 203mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1120IU | Vitamin C: 7.8mg | Calcium: 180mg | Iron: 3mg
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About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. gordon

    dying to try this recipe. I have eaten at the original upstairs in Venice numerous times.I think TG Harrington from NewOrleans opened the original. Not sure but think so.

    At any rate, serving for dinner tomorrow to my sister from the south. I will check back in and post my experience. Thank you Stephanie.

  2. Leelee

    3 stars
    It’s a decent recipe but it’s not Close to KS. Sorry but any tomato paste is a HUGE mistake. Make a shrimp stock and get the same color. Also fennel? NOOooo
    The clam sauce is wrong too. A kitchen person at KS told me the shrimp stock is cooked about 10-14 hours, thats How it gets that addicting taste.
    Theres another recipe online from a guy that uses a shrimp stock and beer, I’ll try his recipe next it sounds more like the real thing. I moved away, from MDR so I still need my fix!

  3. JRoads

    After much scouring, I take back my opinion that there is no tomato in KS broth, however, most accounts say about half your amount of tomato paste is enough and in addition there may be other missing ingredients (including either a small amount of beer and/or heavy cream and/or cream sherry) that add a heavier flavor and some needed thickening. I’ve saved recipes from a few other local KS junkies and will be experimenting. Happy to comment again if I find a combination that I find is close to the goal.

  4. JRoads

    Although this recipe may be great for anyone who’s not familiar with Killer Shrimp, I’m afraid it’s not close to the actual KS broth. I agree with the previous poster that there is no (or at least no detectable) tomato in the original KS broth. We’ve eaten there so many times over the past 20 some-odd years (the original one upstairs in the strip mall at Washington/Admiralty Way, Hermosa Beach, Santa Barbara, and the last existing one on the waterfront in MdR) so we were disappointed this recipe was so far off. That said, there are so many OTHER copycat recipes here we’ve tried that are right on track.

  5. Darryl U Cass

    correct me if I am wrong, but this recipe says it uses shrimp in the ingredients list but does say how or when to cook them. I assume in the broth…

  6. Leslie

    I did not use chicken broth. I used a 64oz can of clam broth and peeled the shrimp and simmered the shrimp shells in the broth for 45 minutes and strained it. Now I have shrimp broth. Sautéed onions in butter. Added tomatoe paste, minced garlic, and all of the aromatics until the paste turned a dark rich red and added a cup of sherry wine and let it reduce. Then I added the shrimp broth. Let it simmer for an hour. Now is the time to season with salt. If you do it prior, the broth will reduce and get way too salty. The big secret that everyone thinks is beer, it’s not. The broth itself needs body. A thickener. Something that cohesively brings all of the flavors together. If you have ever eaten at KS, you would have noticed that the broth is not clear. Under the puddles of melted butter, there lies a slight milky substance. So I added a cup of heavy cream. And that Folks, is how it’s done! Simmer until it reduces just a bit and you can see the tiny droplets of melted butter on top. Add the peeled shrimp, simmer for about 8 minutes, you do not want to over cook the shrimp which the actual KS restaurant is famous for serving over cooked, rubbery shrimp. Say “grace” and serve. Bon appetite!

    • Silvia

      My hubby tried another recipe and it was almost there not quite. Broth was not the same color, rosemary was bitter maybe because he used dried instead of fresh, torn between the dry sherry vs wine. Your input sounds right on and will try it.

      • copykat

        So I am confused you thought this recipe was off, or another recipe, or perhaps both are a little off. The color of the broth may be influenced if you use dry sherry or white wine. Just a thought there.

  7. Miss Q

    5 stars
    I never actually ate there BECAUSE it was ALWAYS PACKED. I used to order it with an old boyfriend and he’d go pick it up. That was nearly 15 years ago….I still remember that shrimp and the sauce with the bread for dipping!! My mouth is SO watering! Anyway….I miss that shrimp more then the old boyfriend… and he was FINE!

  8. CactusHeart

    This is her “creation” of an imitation of the original recipe for Killer Shrimp, a (now defunct) restaurant in So Cal. Where they served 3 things on the menu: shrimp w/bread, shrimp w/rice & shrimp w/pasta *lol*…well, ok, make that 5 things; they also served beer and a tasty sweet potato/pecan pie. Their shrimp would be served in giant bowls of the most divine, rich (almost as fatty as it was flavorful), addictive spicy broth. When served with bread, it was so perfect for mopping up the sauce, you’d never bother to remember to ask for a spoon. I also loved that I could ask for the shrimp unpeeled (that’s how I like it). The inside of the joint sure screamed “dive” however *lol*. It was as dark as a nightclub, but without all the fun and atmosphere *lol* The minimal decor and lack of atmosphere made the long wait for our order that much longer. The muddled music was blaring on a stereo so busted it sounded like the speakers were kicked over and faced the floor *lol* But the shrimp! Oh, the shrimp!!! What I wouldn’t give for the recipe….and although this is close, this isn’t it. For one thing, I know for certain they use beer…And though their broth is deliciously rich, they DON’T use THAT much butter! I would love to have the recipe, maybe I could tweak it by adding additional seafood (scallops, etc.)…make myself a cajun version of tom yum soup *lol* which is what killer shrimp’s creation kind of already is. Rest in peace, killer shrimp…Your closure is a loss to me and the world. Your recipe was a gift from the heavens and my taste buds will never be the same. I’ll be pouring out a 40 on the curb for ya *LOL*

    • Claudia-Kellee

      C Heart: LOL when KS 1st opened upstairs in a strip mall, they didn’t even offer rice/noodles…just bread and we’d go downstairs to the Chinese restaurant and buy rice! But really, have U actually prepared this recipe? I’m with you on the addiction to the sauce (although I never had the one w/beer in it) it was buttery w/LOTS of rosemary, YUM! I’ll be fixing this recipe for a pot luck dinner & if it comes even CLOSE to KS I’ll be GOOD & thankful for THAT!

      ps: WHERE have U been? KS NEVER became “defunct”…they MOVED! In fact they even opened a location in Studio City (which IS now closed) BUT they have a FAB-U-LUSS BEACH location in Marina del Rey: 4211 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey, CA 90292 (310) 578-2293…CHECK IT OUT! (it’s been there FOR YEARS!!!

      • Troy

        They did not “move”, they closed. I lived at the Marina City Club west tower right next to the current location. The restaurant up the steps in the strip mall closed in 2007 as did the Harbor House and Edie’s Diner. They put a restaurant in the old Harbor House location called The Organic Panificio Cafe which did not do very well. Then on Sept 1, 2011 Killer Shrimp made its grand return in the current spot. I was so glad to have it back. I thought I would never get to taste that delicious sauce again.

    • Lisa

      5 stars
      Just ate a Killer Shrimp on Pier Avenue, absolutely wonderful. Also tried the Killer fries, and they were fabulous. I would also love to have the recipe as I don’t live in California and only get out there every year or 2.

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