Head-On Shrimp With Lima Beans, Cornbread, and Buttermilk Aioli

By: Hannah Lee Leidy
Photography by Caleb Chancey

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6 servings

  • 18 head-on shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 6 bamboo or stainless steel skewers
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Butterbeans (recipe follows)
  • Cornbread (recipe follows)
  • Buttermilk aioli (recipe follows)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped

  • Butterbeans
  • 6 cups fresh shelled lima beans
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 arbol chilies
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

  • Cornbread
  • 2 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 3/4 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil plus 3 tablespoons for greasing pan

  • Buttermilk Aioli
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced very thin (use a microplane if available)
  • 1 1/2 cups of olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons buttermilk
  1. Skewer shrimp by threading one skewer through head of shrimp and a second through the tail. Repeat until you have 6 shrimp on each set of skewers.
  2. Place skewers on a platter, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Prepare chimney starter full of coals. Once coals have turned white, shake them out and distribute evenly over bottom of grill. Add grate and let heat 5 minutes.
  4. Place shrimp skewers on grill and cook until pink, just a few minutes on each side.
  5. To serve, use a slotted spoon to remove cooked butterbeans from their liquid and place on a large warmed platter. Crumble the cornbread over the beans and top with skewers of shrimp. Drizzle with buttermilk aioli and garnish with fresh dill. Serve immediately.


  1. Place lima beans in a large pot and add just enough cold water to cover. Add the remaining ingredients and cook over high heat until boiling.
  2. Reduce heat to medium, skimming any foam that accrues on the surface. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until beans are tender. Cool in the cooking liquid and refrigerate if not using immediately.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a dry 8-inch cast-iron skillet in oven to heat while you prepare the batter.
  2. In a large bowl, use a fork to mix all dry ingredients.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and buttermilk.
  4. Form a well in dry ingredients and whisk in buttermilk mixture. When there are no lumps, whisk in 1/4 cup canola oil.
  5. Remove skillet from oven and coat surface with remaining 3 tablespoons canola oil. Pour in batter and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and turn out onto a cooling rack.

Buttermilk Aioli

  1. Place egg yolks in a medium stainless steel or glass bowl. Whisk yolks until they become smooth and ribbon-like.
  2. Add garlic and just a few drops of oil, whisking to start the emulsification process.
  3. While whisking, slowly add remaining oil and buttermilk alternately. The resulting mixture should be thick.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to use.

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