Shell-On Shrimp with Rosemary, Garlic & Chile

September 5, 2017

Author Notes: This is a really easy quick dish that tastes delicious and—okay, okay—works even if you insist on peeling off the shells after cooking. But I hope you will trust me and give the whole shrimp a try. Frying the shrimp in hot olive oil quickly crisps the shells up and seals in the juices, and throwing the salt on hot shells just as they come out of the hot oil really bonds the salt on to the shell, granting plenty of flavor. I like to squeeze a little lemon over everything for the acidity, and also because it softens both the flavor and the texture of the shells.Sara Jenkins

Serves: 4-6
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 20 min


  • 1.5 pounds whole, shell-on shrimp (if you can find them with the head-on, even better)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 dried chile pepper, such as arbol
  • 2 lemons, cut into quarters
  • Sea salt
In This Recipe


  1. Heat the oil in a heavy pan (a cast iron pan is great for this), large enough for the shrimp to fit in one layer. When the oil is hot, start adding the shrimp to the pan—just a few at a time so as to not chill the oil down. Let the shrimp turn pink and the shell start to crisp up (about 3-4 minutes), then flip the shrimp over to cook on the other side.
  2. Add the garlic, rosemary and dried chile, and cook for a few more minutes.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp with as much of the garlic and rosemary as you can get. Sprinkle immediately with salt, so that it sticks to the shells.
  4. Serve immediately with wedges of lemon to squeeze over the shrimp. Eat everything: The shells will be crispy and flavorful. If you have head-on shrimp, pull the heads off and suck out the insides, or eat the shrimp heads as well.

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