Spicy Portuguese Shrimp


At first glance there doesn’t seem to be much to this recipe and in truth, there isn’t. It’s basically just a recipe for seasoned shrimp. Officially labeled Spicy Portuguese Shrimp with Garlic, I think this dish is a highly versatile base for any number of recipes. In the magazine they recommend serving it as is, with toast, which I feel is an outstanding appetizer option, but lacks in the entrée department. In the end I opted to serve it over brown rice, but also tried a couple of the shrimp crostini style, much to my satisfaction. As I said, a great appetizer. If served over rice or noodles this recipe could use some vegetables. I haven’t done that yet, but feel it would be a great opportunity to cater to your tastes. Options include, bell peppers, mushroom, snow peas, scallions, or bok choy, just to name a few. I also think this recipe would work for shrimp salad, tacos, quesadillas, or just about any curry. Yes, it’s that versatile.

Ingredients: Serves 2-4 people

  • 2 pounds Jumbo Shrimp (21/25 per pound, peeled, deveined, and tails removed)
  • 1 teaspoon (heaping) paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 5 Clove Garlic minced
  • 2 Fresno Chilis
  • ½ Cup Dry Sherry
  • 1 Bunch Cilantro
  • 1 Lemon
  • ½ teaspoon white sugar
  • Brown Rice


First off, start your brown rice, as it typically takes close to an hour to cook. I’m lucky enough to have a rice cooker so this is very simple for me. If you don’t have a rice cooker, uhhh… get one? Or, the Internet is your friend.

Next, the shrimp. Once they are peeled, deveined, with tails removed (my preference), combine with 1 heaping teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper. Let sit for at least 10 minutes.

This is a good time to prepare the garlic, chilis, cilantro and lemon juice. Mince 5 cloves of garlic, stem, seed, and finely chop 2 Fresno chilis, and chop a ½ cups worth of cilantro. Set all of this aside for later. Lastly, cut the lemon in half, juicing one half and slicing the other into wedges to serve with the finished dish.

Now it’s time to cook the shrimp. Over medium high heat and in your largest non-stick pan add enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Depending on size, cook the shrimp all at once or in batches. I must admit that cooking shrimp is an art I’ve yet to truly master, but one thing I’ve learned is they cook fast. Shrimp go from done to over done in the blink of an eye. So how do you know why they’re done? They should be a uniform pink, opaque and slightly firm to the touch. This should take approximately 4 minutes or so, flipping half way through. When done, remove from the pan and transfer to a bowl. Remember, the shrimp will continue to cook some after removed from the heat and will cook a bit more once returned to the pan later in the recipe.

Once all the shrimp is done turn the heat down to medium and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the garlic, and the peppers to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is golden, then add ½ cup dry sherry. Continue to stir, cooking until it thickens slightly.

Turn off the heat and add ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, ½ teaspoon sugar, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Lastly, return the shrimp to the pan and stir, thoroughly combining all the ingredients.

However you end up using this shrimp, serve with lemon wedges.


Notes: Feel free to leave the tails on your shrimp, if that’s your thing. For those unfamiliar with Fresno chilis, they are generally a touch hotter than jalapenos. Swap them out for something milder or hotter if you like. I used one Fresno and one habanero and ended up with a really nice heat. I’d love to find out how you used the shrimp in this recipe, please let me know in the comments below.

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