Shrimp boil

(Jonathan levitt for the boston globe)
By Jonathan Levitt
Globe Correspondent / January 7, 2009

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Serves 4

Maine shrimp are sweet and clean and perfect enough to eat raw, right out of the shell. They also make a simple winter boil. Cook the shrimp whole (heads on, if possible) in a big covered pot with beer, potatoes, a splash of apple cider vinegar, and crushed red pepper. For a more substantial dish, add a couple of cooked spicy chicken sausages or turkey kielbasa to the pot. Serve bowls with plenty of sea salt, lemon wedges, and lots of napkins. Guests peel shrimp as they eat. Succulent and tiny Maine shrimp are inexpensive and in season until the middle of spring. Get them while you can.

3 bottles (12 ounces each) lager beer
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons crushed red pepper
8 small yellow boiling potatoes, halved
2 pounds unshelled Maine shrimp
3 lemons, cut into wedges
Sea salt, to taste

1. In a large soup pot, bring the beer to a simmer over medium heat. Add the cider vinegar, red pepper, and potatoes. Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

2. Add the shrimp. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Ladle the potatoes, shrimp, and broth into deep bowls. Serve with lemon wedges and sea salt.