Make Ahead

Savory Shrimp with Chickpeas, Green Olives, and Preserved Lemon

June 11, 2014
4 Stars
Author Notes

This one-pot of savory goodness doesn't take much time to prepare, and it can be eaten warm or cold. This recipe's roots place it in North Africa, but it is simple to prepare and oh-so delicious. The preserved lemon adds a fantastic, somewhat zippy, quality. No need for salt here with the satiny lemon and the briny olives. Dig in. —Melina Hammer

  • Serves 3 to 4
  • 1/3 garlic scape, or 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Good olive oil
  • 12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
  • Cracked pepper
  • 8 ounces dried chickpeas
  • 2 cups shrimp stock, or water
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 handfuls spiced green olives
  • 1 preserved lemon, rinsed and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 handful fresh mint leaves
In This Recipe
  1. In a bowl, combine finely chopped garlic scape or garlic clove, juice from the lemon, a couple glugs of olive oil, and the shrimp. Stir to combine, season with a little cracked pepper, and refrigerate. Marinade overnight.
  2. Soak chickpeas in water to cover overnight. Drain and cook them in the shrimp stock if you have it (or use water). Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until chickpeas are tender. Remove from heat and set aside. This can be done a day in advance.
  3. In a good glug of olive oil, sauté the garlic until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the chickpeas and some of their liquid and cook until it starts to bubble.
  4. Stirring to incorporate, add the pepper flakes, the paprika, cumin, and olives, and some freshly cracked black pepper. The mixture in the pan should be hot and bubbling to help the liquid reduce.
  5. Add the sliced preserved lemon, give it another stir, and then remove from heat. Empty the mixture into a large bowl and return the pan to the stove.
  6. On high heat, warm another glug of olive oil. Once the oil smiles add the shrimp, a few at a time so as not to crowd the pan. Sear until well golden and crisp in places - about 2-3 minutes a side -- then add to the chickpea mixture.
  7. Once you have cooked all the shrimp, deglaze the pan with any remaining shrimp stock -- or white wine if you have it -- and pour the bubbling liquid over everything. (you could use water here, too). Carefully stir everything together. Taste for seasoning, adding any final bits of sliced preserved lemon should you have (or want) them.
  8. Serve in shallow bowls with torn mint.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • msmely
  • Melina Hammer
    Melina Hammer
  • Louise
  • christina
When she's not writing, cooking, styling, and shooting her forthcoming cookbook - out Spring 2022 with Ten Speed Press - Melina makes food look its best for the New York Times, Eating Well, Edible, and other folks who are passionate about real food. She grows heirloom+native plants and forages wild foods at her Hudson Valley getaway, Catbird Cottage. There, Melina prepares curated menus to guests seeking community, amidst the robust flavors of the seasons.

8 Reviews

Louise March 3, 2019
I turned to this recipe when I was feeling like doing little dinner prep and made a satisfactory super-easy meal by using un-marinated shrimp, and since my pantry was bare, used capers and lemon juice instead of olives and preserved lemons. I cooked the shrimp right in the pan with the chick peas and they turned out fine. Olives would be better I'm sure, but okay all in all. For healthier I might thrown in some spinach on top, and cover the pan to steam for a couple minutes.
christina July 13, 2018
Tried this recipe last night and loved it! Didn't have preserved lemons so I added thin sliced lemons in at the end and it still added a nice touch! Will be making this again
Author Comment
Melina H. July 13, 2018
Thank you. Great swap - no doubt it helped!
msmely July 29, 2015
In hindsight, it would have been better to boil the dried chickpeas with the cumin/paprika to infuse them with the flavor. I found the cumin got pretty lost behind all the lemon.

With the chickpea residue still in the pan, it was difficult-to-impossible to get the pan hot enough for a good sear without burning the leftover starches, and there's no way I'm washing a hot pan in the middle of cooking. For a good sear it's probably easier to use a second pan.

I found that a whole preserved lemon was too much. Even with rinsing, between the whole lemon and the green olives, it was very salty. I would probably put half the amount of preserved lemon in.

I ended up using somewhere around a half a cup of the reserved chickpea liquid. It reduced down fairly quickly over a high heat. The recipe doesn't specify how much to use. It also doesn't say what to do with the leftover marinade for the shrimp... I ended up using it for deglazing and throwing it back in, since I rather enjoy lemon.

I love the flavor combination and if one adds the shrimp plus marinade toward the end of the chickpea liquid reducing, it becomes a true one-pot stew. I'll probably end up making several modifications to suit my tastes but it's definitely a lovely dish and the recipe is a good starting point.
Lula M. July 23, 2014
I'm assuming I can use canned, already cooked chickpeas, yes? Any adjustments if I do that?
Author Comment
Melina H. July 23, 2014
Yep, you totally can. I would use a regular sized (16 oz) can for two people, and modify accordingly for more or fewer people. Just rinse the beans of their liquid before adding seasonings and oil, etc. :)
Kelly June 28, 2014
It looks good but the recipes is so poorly written I am not sure how to make it. How much is a glug? Is a good glug more or less than a glug? When does olive oil smile exactly? Step two states, "bring everything to a boil" so am I to boil all the ingredients listed in recipe for 30 minutes?
Author Comment
Melina H. June 28, 2014
A glug is tipping the bottle over and back without pausing. About a tablespoon. A good glug is to the count of one after tipping it to pour. If you look at oil heating in a pan, you will notice the oil pulling to the edges once it's hot, before it smokes. Chefs and other food folk often refer to that as "smiling". Thanks for catching the "everything" part in step 2. I meant: bring the stock (or water) and chickpeas to a boil and then cook for thirty minutes. Hope this helps you to enjoy this delicious dish!