This recipe for shrimp with smoked paprika, or pimentón, is from Paula Wolfert, the doyenne of Mediterranean cooking. Its name says it all—succulent shrimp swimming in a smoked-paprika-and-garlic olive oil bath. Call it a spa for crustaceans.
If the temptation of plump, tender shrimp with smoked paprika and ample garlic doesn’t send you sprinting to the kitchen, we’re fairly certain that knowing this recipe from Paula Wolfert can be on the table in less than 15 minutes will do the trick. It’s not overwhelmingly hot or spicy, so rest assured that even picky eaters should feel safe with it.–Angie Zoobkoff
Shrimp with Smoked Paprika
- 1 pound large shrimp preferably shell-on
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil preferably Spanish
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon mild crushed red pepper flakes preferably Aleppo or Marash
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika (pimentón de la Vera dulce) [Editor’s Note: Or, if you like things hot, use hot smoked paprika]
- Crusty bread or rice for serving (optional)
- Remove the shrimp from the fridge and let them come to room temperature while preparing the garlic oil.
- In a 12-inch (30-cm) cazuela or heavy skillet, combine the oil, garlic, and pepper flakes. Set it over medium-low heat to warm slowly (on a diffuser if using a cazuela), gradually raising the heat to medium-high until the oil is hot and the garlic starts to sizzle and just turns golden, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the shrimp and cook, turning once, until firm and white throughout, 3 to 6 minutes; the timing depends on their size. Remove the cazuela from the heat and sprinkle the shrimp with the hot water, salt, and paprika. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more pepper flakes, salt, or paprika, if needed.
- Serve at once, directly from the cazuela or divided between plates. Accompany with plenty of crusty bread or rice for sopping up all that garlicky goodness.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This was simple, good food. It was tasty, easy to make, and came together in under 15 minutes. A definite weeknight win in my books. The shrimp were tender and flavorful and the garlic oil was perfect for dipping crusty bread. In the future I wouldn’t use shrimp with shells on—I’m sure they added flavor, but peeling shrimp covered in oil is a very messy experience. I served with crusty bread for dipping and a simple salad of butter lettuce and radish in a Dijon vinaigrette.
This was a nice simple recipe with a mild flavor. Shrimp cooks quickly so this is good for a weeknight dinner but this recipe would also be nice to serve for a weekend dinner with friends. Personally, I prefer a slightly spicier dish but this did not qualify as bland and I think most people would enjoy the garlic-pepper blend. I used sweet, smoked paprika and Aleppo pepper. I served it with rice and a salad and found it would easily serve 5 or 6.
What’s not to like about plump shrimp coated in a luscious garlic-infused oil? If serving in individual bowls, be sure to spoon a generous amount of the oil over the shrimp. It’s a good idea to have a mound of sliced crusty bread on the table. People will want to sop up every last drop of it. My family found the shrimp themselves a little lacking in flavor. In the time it took to cook them, not a lot of the infused oil’s flavor was imparted. When we made this dish a second time we substituted hot crushed red pepper flakes in place of the Aleppo pepper and hot smoked paprika for the sweet. We increased the amount of paprika we used to 1/2 teaspoon. This did the trick—amping up the flavor of the prawns themselves.
This dish is so easy to make. It takes only 10 minutes from start to finish. Keeping the shells on contributes a depth of flavor and results in a nice, plump shrimp. It is easier to avoid overcooking with the shell on. This is a wonderful dish to serve to a crowd that doesn’t mind getting their hands a little dirty. We just make sure to have plenty of paper napkins at the ready! Ate as appetizer the first time we made it. As an entree, we served with bread, green salad and roasted vegetables.
This recipe was a breeze to put together using the items I had on hand. I was leary of adding hot water to the oiled pan so I transferred the cooked shrimp to another dish and then added the water, salt, and paprika and tossed to coat the shrimp. The result was perfectly cooked spiced shrimp which I served on a bed of Israeli couscous. This recipe is a keeper. The ingredients are pantry-ready and the dish was on the table in less than 15 minutes. This recipe would serve 2 as a main course.
There’s something to be said for simplicity. And when it packs a flavor punch like Sizzling Shrimp with Garlic and Pimenton, you have a win-win. Shrimp, olive oil, red pepper, and paprika, and that’s about it. By slowly heating the oil with the garlic and red pepper flakes, the oil gets infused with those flavors, which then get imparted into the shrimp, which get finished with a sprinkle of smoked sweet paprika.
Start to finish, the recipe took about 15 minutes, making this dish an elegant weeknight treat. And don’t miss the tip at the end: Serve with crusty bread that you can dunk in the oil.
I liked this dish quite a bit and it was easy to make on a busy weeknight. My kids loved it, especially dipping the bread in the juices and olive oil. They all felt that the recipe would be better if the shrimp had been peeled, but I quite liked peeling the shrimp, dipping my bread and getting kind of messy. I served this dish with a salad and warm bread. I also sautéed some mushrooms and green beans to go along with it. I think the dish could have used 1/2 tsp more smoked paprika and maybe even a squeeze of fresh orange juice.
Originally published December 11, 2017