Friday, November 8, 2013

Shrimp with Garlic and Saffron

by Sheila Connolly

Shoot, this recipe is just too easy! A grand total of seven ingredients. The hardest part is finding smoked paprika (but you can’t substitute the regular kind).

A word on shrimp. My husband and I have often chat with the woman who staffs the fish counter at our local market, and we eat seafood at least once a week. They sell shrimp there, both raw (shell on) and cooked. In an adjacent case, they sell bags of frozen shrimp. Guess what: it’s all the same shrimp. The bulk shrimp are shipped to the store in large bags, and they’re frozen. For the fresh shrimp, they’re thawed in-store.

Frozen shrimp are not evil. They’re all coming from Indonesia or Thailand these days, and over there they’ve long since figured out how to flash-freeze seafood. They taste fine, and some nice people have already removed the icky vein (i.e., the digestive tube). You can buy them peeled or not. You can keep the frozen ones in your freezer for that day when you have no time and nothing fresh to cook—and now you have this quick and tasty recipe.
With shell
Cleaned and ready

One digression: shrimp are harvested off the coast of County Cork in Ireland. I was incredulous when I first heard this, but it’s true—something about the warm currents there. I was tipped off when I innocently ordered what was called a shrimp sandwich in Baltimore in County Cork (in a restaurant across the street from the harbor there), and this was what arrived:


¼ cup olive oil
3 sliced garlic cloves

1 pounds peeled shrimp (about 2 cups)
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
Pinch of saffron
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the sliced garlic and saute until golden.

Stir in the other ingredients and cook, turning the shrimp once or twice, until the shrimp are pink—just a few minutes.

Serve over rice/pasta. Garnish with parsley if you like.

See?  Told you it was easy. One bonus: the combination smells wonderful even before you start cooking!
Coming November 22nd

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  1. Love the recipes...and the best part is the description of the frozen shrimp cleaned and minus their icky digestive tube!!!

  2. Very nice recipe, Sheila, and I found your insight about paprika interesting. We use Szeged Sweet or Hot around here. It's imported from Hungary and is quite good. I don't know if the company makes a smoked paprika but I intend to find out. Thanks for posting this delicious recipe.

    ~ Cleo

  3. We love shrimp and eat it at least once a week. I do have smoked paprika too, so will be making this the next time. Just need the saffron.

    Thanks for sharing this! I love the shrimp 'sandwich' photo.

  4. We had shrimp last night! I always have a bag of the cleaned and frozen ones in the freezer. Will have to try this--I just sauteed them in garlic and olive oil. Cleo, I have a container of Szeged hot paprika and once mistook it for the sweet. Holy cow, that stew was hot! I added potatoes to try to absorb some of the heat and then a can of beef gravy. That finally tamed it enough to be edible and in the end was actually quite good.

    1. Peg - That's hilarious! (We've learned the hard way to balance the hot with the sweet when we use it, too!) ~ Cleo

  5. LOL! The Europeans have a hard time grasping the concept of a sandwich, don't they? Love that platter of shrimp. I had no idea they had shrimp in Ireland.

    This is just how I like my shrimp. I usually buy Key West shrimp but there's a local store that carries shrimp from North Carolina and it's always very good.


  6. Sheila, good info about shrimp. I didn't know. I've often used frozen shrimp because I simply ask if the shrimp is fresh and hear, "No, it was frozen." I hate deveining, so I always buy the already done for me. Lazy, I know. So if I'm not a saffron person, what would you suggest? [Bad experience as a young girl with saffron…]

    Love all the Cork info!

    Daryl / Avery

  7. I give everyone permission to stop feeling guilty about frozen shrimp! It's quick to cook and you can do almost anything with it (Peg, your adding the beef gravy made me smile!).

    Daryl, saffron is pretty subtle (and what did it ever to do you? although it does stain just about everything), so you might not notice if it isn't there. I only know about it because my mother used to make rice with it (with the addition of the lump of flavoring in Lipton's Chicken Noodle Soup--real gourmet stuff). I think the key point is that this dish should be earthy/spicy rather than herby, if that makes sense.