Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything has been one of my favorite cookbooks for years. He's known in the NYT as the Minimalist, because he writes recipes with just the basics of ingredients. This doesn't mean his recipes are necessarily short or super easy, but they aren't overly fussy. People used to have a Betty Crocker or Better Homes and Gardens cookbook so if they wanted to know how to cook lima beans or brisket, they'd have one source that answered all basic cooking questions. I think HTCE is that source for our generation of cooks.
This is maybe our favorite way to have shrimp. It is actually very easy, especially if you buy already peeled and deveined raw frozen shrimp. In fact, Jack has made this recipe all by himself when he was five! You can serve it with crusty bread or rolls, pasta, or rice if you want to make the most of the garlicky sauce. I don't use the full 1/2 cup of olive oil - I just lightly cover the bottom of the pan. I often use a 9x13 pan over two burners for the first part of the recipe. Finally, I usually use about a pound of shrimp for the four of us and adjust the spices by about 1/3.
Shrimp, Mark Bittman's Way
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 or 4 big cloves garlic, cut into slivers or minced
1 1/2 to 2 pounds shrimp, in the 20-30 per pound range, peeled, rinsed, and dried (thawed if
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika (spicy is best, but sweet is okay too)
Minced fresh parsley leaves for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat the broiler and slip an oven rack into the closest possible position.
2. Warm the olive oil very gently in a large, broad, ovenproof skillet or baking pan. There should be enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan; don’t skimp. Put the garlic in the oil and cook for a few minutes, still over low heat, until it turns golden. Be careful not to let it burn.
3. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the shrimp, salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika. Stir to blend and immediately place under the broiler. Cook, shaking the pan once or twice and stirring if necessary, but generally leaving the shrimp undisturbed, until they are pink all over and the mixture is bubbly. This will take from 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the heat of your broiler.
4. Garnish and serve immediately.