Here is a dish you can whip up at the last minute for guests as part of a mezze, or enjoy as the main event. In any case, I guarantee that you will be licking your fingers and wishing you could have the whole platter to yourself. Again, the cilantro and garlic aliyyeh is what’s called for to liven things up Lebanese-style and make them irresistible.
1 pound of medium-sized shrimp
1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
8 cloves of garlic
1 bunch of cilantro
Spices: 2 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne or hot paprika (optional)
Salt, to taste
1 lemon, quartered
- Peel the shrimps and devein them. Set the peels aside in a bowl.
- Mash the garlic in a mortar with a pinch of salt until pasty. Set aside.
- Wash and dry the cilantro and chop finely the cilantro leaves, discarding the stems.
- Mix all the spices in a small bowl and sprinkle them on the shrimp.
- Heat the olive oil for 3 minutes and place all the shrimps in the skillet, stir-frying them for a couple of minutes.
- Remove the shrimps from the skillet with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Add a couple more tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet if necessary and place the mashed garlic and cilantro in the skillet, stirring for one minute until they are mixed and fragrant.
- Place the shrimp in the skillet and stir-fry for a minute or so until the shrimps are coated evenly with the garlic and cilantro paste.
- Serve right away with lemon quarters on the side, or later at room temperature as part of a mezze. Sahteyn!
You can use the shrimp peels in the following manner: Place them in a small pan with one cup or so of cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes. Cool and strain. Keep frozen as a last-minute seafood stock for a seafood soup or rice dish.
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