A lot of shrimp recipes will give you the option of peeling the shrimp and removing the veins and tails, or just leaving them whole. Cooking them whole means more work after you serve the dish because you will have to wait until the shrimp is cool enough to peel without scalding your fingers, and you will also need fingerbowls so you can clean the mess off your fingers afterwards.
So why do some shrimp recipes tell you not to shell the shrimp? The answer is that cooking shrimp with the shells on (you can even leave the heads on if you like) gives them a richer, more intense flavor. A lot of the flavor is in the shell, and that is why shrimp shells are often used to make seafood broth. You can peel these before cooking if you choose to, but for the best flavor then definitely leave the shells. You will be able to notice the difference.
As well as the shrimp, this recipe calls for garlic, tomatoes, parsley, and a splash of white wine. Ensure your tomatoes are ripe, your parsley is fresh, and the wine is something drinkable. Throwing in bad wine or using poor quality produce will spoil the end result. Whenever a recipe does not require many ingredients it is important to make sure you are using good ingredients because you will be able to taste every flavor in the finished dish.
- 1 lb medium or large shrimp (leave shells on)
- 3 chopped garlic cloves
- 2 diced fresh tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato concentrate
- ¼ cup white wine
- ¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Oil, for frying
- Heat the oil and garlic in a skillet until sizzling.
- Add the shrimp and fry until pink.
- Add the white wine and stir.
- Transfer the shrimp to a plate.
- Add the tomatoes and tomato paste to the same skillet.
- Simmer for 12 minutes, then season the mixture with salt and black pepper.
- Add the shrimp and stir them well with the tomato mixture.
- Stir in ¼ cup of the parsley and cook for 1 minute.
- Spoon into 2 bowls and sprinkle the remaining parsley over the top to garnish.
- Serve immediately with crusty bread to soak the delicious juices.
This might be a very simple recipe but do not underestimate the flavor. Not only does leaving the shells on the shrimp intensify their natural flavor, but also the garlic, tomatoes, white wine and parsley work really well together with the seafood. Provide fingerbowls so people can rinse their fingers, as well as napkins, on the side. It is also a good idea to put a clean dish in the middle of the dinner table, for the shells and heads (if you are leaving those on too). This shrimp recipe can be served with rice if you like, but it is especially good served with crusty bread, so you do not miss any of the lovely juices left on the plate afterwards.
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