Prep 4 mins
Cook 12 mins
This ingenious shrimp-cooking method comes from a restaurant near Valencia in Spain. It involves cooking whole shrimp in their shells in a cast-iron skillet on a bed of salt, which heats the crustaceans gently and evenly, leaving them with plenty of flavor. Leaving the shells on preserves the flavor and juices. When the shrimp are of impeccable quality as they are on coastal Spain, no sauce is necessary. But if you like, make a simple vinaigrette with a third of a cup of fruity olive oil, juice of one lemon, two crushed garlic cloves, and a few tablespoons of minced parsley. Don't forget finger bowls and empty bowls for the shells. Adapted from the cookbook "The New Spanish Table".
- 1 1⁄2-2 cups coarse salt (kosher or sea)
- 1 lb large unshelled shrimp, preferably with the heads on, patted dry
- fragrant extra virgin olive oil, for serving (optional)
- lemon wedge, for serving (optional)
- Spread the salt evenly on the bottom of a heavy 12-inch skillet, preferably cast iron. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat until the salt is very hot and almost beginning to smoke. Place half of the shrimp on the salt and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Using tongs, turn the shrimp over and continue cooking until the shrimp are just cooked through, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer the shrimp to a plate and cook the remaining shrimp in the same way. The second batch may take less time to cook, since the salt will be very hot.
- Let the shrimp cool just enough to handle, then gently wipe off any excess salt with paper towels. Serve the shrimp with olive oil and lemon wedges if desired.