In this simple, flavor-packed dinner, a quick version of romesco—a rich, nutty sauce that hails from the Catalan region of Spain—doubles as a marinade and dipping sauce for sweet, briny shrimp. The romesco is made entirely from pantry ingredients and requires nothing more than whirling everything together in a food processor. It's by no means a traditional version yet still delivers big, brash, bold flavors. Better yet, once the shrimp are coated in the sauce, you can head straight to the grill—no pre-planning or long marinating time needed. Place the shrimp on the hot grates, and in under 10 minutes, arrive back in your kitchen—or at a nearby sunny dining spot—with a big platter of ruddy-colored, smoke-kissed shrimp in hand. Serve the remaining romesco sauce on the side to ratchet up the already bright, nuanced flavors.
A few notes: While any size of shrimp will work, large and jumbo shrimp are easiest to handle on the grill. Cook them directly on the grates or on a grill tray, or thread them on metal or bamboo skewers (soaked in water first so they don’t ignite) to make flipping easier. If you don’t have a grill, sear the shrimp in a grill pan or under the broiler. So many sides pair nicely: crusty bread, fluffy rice, a green salad, or grilled vegetables.
Test Kitchen Notes
It's the end of the long workday (or the start of an extra-long week) and we're hungry. Like, "can't-think-straight" hungry. Luckily, Food52 contributor EmilyC wants to do all the thinking for us. In Dinner's Ready, her twice-a-month column on weeknight wonders, Emily shares simple, flavor-packed recipes that'll have a good meal on the table in no time. —The Editors
- Prep time 15 minutes
- Cook time 5 minutes
- Serves 4
- Romesco sauce
sliced almonds, toasted
roasted piquillo or red bell peppers (about half of a 10-ounce jar)
extra-virgin olive oil
sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
olive oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes
2 1/2 tablespoons
sherry vinegar, plus more to taste
smoked Spanish paprika
red pepper flakes, or to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds
large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
Morton’s kosher salt (or 1½ teaspoons Diamond Crystal)
Olive or neutral oil, for grilling
- In a food processor or high-powered blender, pulse the almonds until they’re finely ground. Add the remaining romesco ingredients, and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then adjust the vinegar and pepper flakes to your liking. The sauce should be relatively thick, yet thin enough to nicely coat the shrimp.
- Transfer 2/3 cup of the romesco sauce to a medium bowl. Pat the shrimp dry, and add them to the bowl with 1 teaspoon Morton’s kosher salt (or 1½ teaspoons Diamond Crystal). Toss until they’re evenly coated in the marinade. (Note: the marinated shrimp can be grilled immediately, or refrigerated up to 12 hours in advance. If prepping in advance, just hold back the salt and add it before grilling.)
- Heat grill to medium-high. Brush your grates clean, then brush with oil.
- Grill the shrimp for about 2 to 3 minutes on the first side (you should see a little charring around the edges), then flip and cook another 1 to 2 minutes, until opaque and cooked throughout. (Tip: If you’re not sure if they’re done, cut into one to check.) Remove the shrimp to a serving tray and top with a few squeezes of lemon juice.
- Serve warm, with the remaining romesco sauce on the side.