Easy to prepare! The essential ingredient is heads-on shrimp.
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 bay leaves
6 pounds fresh Gulf shrimp with heads on,
20 to 25 count to the pound
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 pounds salted butter
1/2 pound margarine
2 teaspoons paprika
1 newly-purchased 4-ounce can black pepper
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Use the garlic cloves to wipe the inside of a baking pan (or two) big enough to hold all the shrimp. Squeeze it in there to get as much garlic oil as you can in there. Discard the garlic itself, but leave the little bits that came loose. Place two bay leaves at the bottom of the pan.
Wash and pat dry the shrimp, then lay them on their sides, crowded together and slightly overlapping, in the baking pan. Douse the shrimp with the lemon juice.
Cut the butter and margarine into cubes and distribute it atop the shrimp. Sprinkle it with the paprika. Liberally sprinkle enough black pepper over the shrimp to cover them with a palpable black layer. Don't miss any spots! (And you don't have to use the whole can, either.)
Bake the shrimp in a preheated 300 degree F oven for 15 minutes. Check them for doneness; when the meat pulls away from the shells, you're there. You do not want soft, wrinkled shells. Return the shrimp to the oven if necessary, but not much longer.
Serve the shrimp in soup plates with lots of the sauce and toasted French bread. Also plenty of napkins and perhaps bibs.