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The Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish

November 18, 2018

By Kath Dedon


The Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish is my take on a Mark Bittman recipe. It is indeed simple, but is it the best? I don’t know about that, but it certainly is good enough that I made it twice in one week. Bittman calls it a Spanish tapa-style dish and says that everyone he’s served it to has loved it. Perhaps it is the Best!

The most time-consuming part of this recipe is peeling the shrimp, but even that doesn’t take too long. And if you buy shrimp that’s already peeled and deveined, the recipe is even simpler!

Be sure to have all of the ingredients ready to go (mise en place) because the cooking goes really quickly.

Bob and I really did enjoy this Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish! Just writing about it is making me crave it. The first time I made it I just served it by itself on a plate. The second time I served it with cauliflower rice. It would be great served over rice or by itself with a good bread to sop up the flavorful sauce. I’ll be making this again soon; it’s sure to be part of our regular rotation.


Served with cauliflower rice

The Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish


The Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish

(Adapted, barely, from Mark Bittman’s recipe on his website and in the 10th Anniversary edition of How to Cook Everything)


(print the recipe)


Serves 4


1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, peeled

1½ pounds shrimp

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1½ teaspoons hot smoked paprika (Look for the word “picante” on the label.)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)


Ingredients for the Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish



cumin and smoked hot paprika


  1. If the shrimp aren’t already peeled and deveined, do that first and set aside.
  2. Slice the garlic into thin slivers. Measure out the cumin and paprika. (You can put them both in the same dish.) Prep the parsley, if using.


Ingredients “mise en place” (ready to go)

Ingredients mise en place


3. Heat a large skillet over low heat. When hot, add the olive oil and let it heat up.

oil in pan

4. Add the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring often, until it is starting to brown.


5. Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the shrimp, the cumin and paprika, and a bit of salt and pepper.

shrimp and spices added

6. Stir to distribute the spices.

Shrimp cooking

7. Cook, stirring often, until the shrimp are done. It will take 5 -10 minutes. (Timing will depend on the size of your shrimp and the heat of the pan.)

8. Serve, garnished with parsley, if desired.


The Simplest and Best Shrimp


2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 20, 2018 3:10 am

    Kath, that’s a good looking tapas or a fine dinner. I have a tin of hot Spanish paprika setting in the pantry that would be perfect for this dish. I’m envious of those big lovely prawns your cooking, we don’t get those here.

    • November 20, 2018 6:30 am

      That surprises me that you can’t get large shrimp, Ron. The flavor would still be good with smaller shrimp. Thanks for stopping by!

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