Cast Iron

Shell-On Shrimp with Rosemary, Garlic & Chile

September  5, 2017
12 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
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

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 4-6
  • 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Keri Wray
    Keri Wray
  • Marta
  • Vincefil486
  • Lar

    6 Reviews

    Marta August 31, 2020
    Fabulous!!! Simple, quick, and over the top delicious! I've got to admit, not into the shells, but did try them and can understand liking the additional crunch and taste. These reminded me of shrimp I had in Mexico City in 1972! still remember them and have never had any quite the same - Thanks!!!
    Vincefil486 July 1, 2020
    The recipe was simple yet taste delightful. The garlic and rosemary blended very well.
    Keri W. December 23, 2019
    My entire family loved this! Three girls, who all love seafood, were still hesitant to eat the shells but after I tried the first bite, they dug in and fought over the last few shrimp!
    Lar July 20, 2019
    Made this 3 times. Delicious, but most delicious was made with large south Florida shrimp
    Lar July 3, 2019
    Made this twice, delicious both times. I used red pepper flakes, didn't have the other. The second time I bought the shrimp they were split, and still had the shells
    It worked out fine.
    noknok September 8, 2017
    Is there some clever way to remove the 'vein' with shell still on? I find the digestive tract unpleasantly gritty & strongly prefer that shrimp be deveined.