My good friends know that I have a problem with over complicating recipes. All too often I’m adding in tiny bits of extra ingredients just for a litttttttle bit of extra flavor or depth…this recipe is the exact opposite. Shrimp, lemon, garlic, Old Bay. Just four ingredients and about a half hour and you’ll have a dish that’s good enough to impress friends on the weekend and quick enough to crank out in the middle of the week.
Healing With Food
We’ve all been there…it’s Tuesday night, work sucks, your feet hurt, you had a bad workout, and now you need to cook dinner. You could reach into the back of the freezer for that old box of French Bread Pizza, or you could pick up some shrimps on your way home and crank out this super easy shrimp recipe! I know, that sounds like a lot, but one of the amazing qualities of good food is its ability to lift us up when we’re feeling down. This super easy shrimp recipe with Old Bay is definitely a spirit lifter.
Old Bay Is Life
Fun fact: if you put Old Bay Seasoning on something it will taste good. I haven’t tried this philosophy on ice cream yet, but my mouth is watering thinking about Old Bay on some good Vanilla…let me know if you try that. Any kind of seafood, just pop a teaspoon of old bay in there and you’re good to go. It’s even good on meat, burger with a little old bay sprinkled on them have a great flavor, chicken marinated in old bay and olive oil then grilled is so basic and so amazing.
Let’s Talk Shrimp
There’s only one main ingredient you really need to worry about with this one and it’s the shrimp. I’m blessed to be out here in San Diego living the seafood dream, but any major grocery store with a seafood case will have shrimps. I find the larger the shrimp, the juicier and more delicious they are. I would stay away from the small shrimp, and also try to get the shrimp with tails on still (they tend to stay more plump when cooking). If you’re on a budget you can get the shrimp still with shells and veins, but that makes this dish more of a labor of love with all the peeling and deveining you’ll have to do.
Why So YumSizzle?
Shrimp are a crustacean, and if you passed 3rd grade you’ll know that means they have an exoskeleton and feelers or antennae. More Important for us is the flavor of crustaceans and what makes them so delicious. You know how sometimes you take a bite of shrimp or lobster and say “OMG it’s so sweet!”, well that’s all thanks to biology, stay with me for a nerdy second. Shrimp live in a salty ocean environment that’s ~3% salt, that’s too much salt for animal cells to handle. To balance out the extreme salinity of the environment they live in and the amount of salt in their cells, shrimp and other crustaceans fill their cells with amino acids like glycine (which has a sweet flavor), and monosodium glutamate (savory flavor). Yep, you read that right, shrimp are delicious because they fill themselves up with MSG and MSG’s sweet cousin.
A quick note here about the shrimp shell. The shell has a TON of flavor, and even acts to keep flavor in when cooking, and preserve the shrimp after they’ve been caught. I prefer shell on, head on shrimp, there’s soooo much more flavor and juicy-ness, however for this recipe we’re using peeled shrimp with no heads. That’s purely for ease of preparation, if you want more flavor, and more finger licking fun, get shrimps with heads and shells.
Jumbo Shrimp (hehe)
Perhaps the king of oxymorons, this size of shrimp is my favorite (technically the ‘Extra Jumbo’ size). With shrimp size matters. The way that shrimp sizes are designated is by how many shrimp it takes to make up one pound.
- Extra Small: 61-70
- Small: 51-60
- Medium: 41-50
- Large: 31-35
- Extra Large: 26-30
- Extra Jumbo: 16-20
- Colossal: 13-15
- Super Colossal: Under 12
- Extra Colossal: Under 10
Let’s Get To Cooking
So, with that in mind let’s get going with the actual cooking…enough with the prep work. Season the chicken liberally on both sides and get the pan up on medium to medium high heat. The first thing we’re doing is browning the chicken on both sides to set up the first layer of flavor. Some of the spices on the outside of the chicken will brown, release some oils and bloom, while the chicken will release some fat giving us some amazing flavor to cook the vegetables and rice in.
This recipe is super quick. Just combine the ingredients in a bowl, let them marinade for 10-30 minutes, heat up a pan, and cook ‘em up for 2-3 minutes on each side. Boom, YumSizzle!
Heat (temperature, type) + Time = YumSizzle
The YumSizzle formula here is just about as simple as it gets. Heat is conduction from the pan and is pretty high. Time is a quick 2 mins on each side, anything more and the shrimp will get dry and chewy.
The Easiest Shrimp