Garlicky Sautéed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

updated Nov 4, 2020
Garlicky Sautéed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

This 20-minute dish, inspired by the Spanish tapas dish Gambas a Ajillo, makes for a flavorful weeknight dinner with very little effort.

Serves4

Prep10 minutes

Cook10 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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Garlicky sautéed shrimp with oregano, paprika and lime
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

This 20-minute dish of garlicky shrimp, blistered tomatoes, and creamy white beans makes for a flavor-packed weeknight dinner with very little effort. It’s inspired by the Spanish tapas dish gambas al ajillo, a delicious and highly snackable combination of tender shrimp swimming in oil that’s best soaked up with some crusty bread (which I highly recommend for this dish as well). 

The original dish is simpler in that the shrimp are cooked in a generous amount of oil with chili pepper and lots of garlic, and finished with brandy or an acid such as lemon or vinegar. Here, I cook the shrimp in a similar fashion but marinate them first with oregano, paprika, garlic, red pepper flakes, and herbs to coat them with flavor. Blistered tomatoes add sauciness to the dish, while the white beans, which I like to mash a bit as I stir to create a creamy paste, make it heartier — perfect for a quick and warming dinner.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

While I prefer to peel the shrimp for this dish (it’s less messy for a weeknight), cooking them with their shells on is common in gambas al ajillo and absolutely an option here, too. Because shell-on shrimp take a little longer to cook (about three to four minutes per side), add them to the pan first. Or, use the shrimp marinade and cook them on the grill. Just know that a lot of the delicious flavor will end up on the shell, so unless you want to eat those (which you can!), it can feel like a bit like a waste.

Either way, enjoy leftovers atop a simple arugula salad with avocado, a drizzle of olive oil, and a generous squeeze of lime juice for an extremely satisfying lunch.

Garlicky Sautéed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

This 20-minute dish, inspired by the Spanish tapas dish Gambas a Ajillo, makes for a flavorful weeknight dinner with very little effort.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 5

    large cloves garlic, divided

  • 1

    medium lime

  • 1/2 cup

    fresh parsley leaves or cilantro and fine stems

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    paprika

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes, divided

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

  • 5 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling

  • 1 pound

    medium peeled and deveined uncooked shrimp

  • 1 pint

    grape tomatoes (about 10 ounces)

  • 1 (15-ounce) can

    cannellini or white beans

  • Crusty bread, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Grate or mince 4 of the large garlic cloves into a large bowl. Thinly slice the remaining 1 large garlic clove and set aside. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium lime into the bowl, then cut the lime in half and set aside. Coarsely chop 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves and tender stems. Place half in the bowl and reserve the remaining half.

  2. Add 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of the red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the bowl. Stir to combine. Add 1 pound peeled and deveined uncooked shrimp and toss to coat. Let the shrimp marinate 10 to 15 minutes at room temperature. (Alternatively, cover and refrigerate this, the sliced garlic clove, lime halves, and reserved parsley overnight.)

  3. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a 12-inch cast iron or heavy-weight skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add 1 pint grape tomatoes, then season with kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the skins start to pop, about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, drain and rinse 1 can cannellini beans.

  4. Add the shrimp and marinade, stir to combine, and cook until the shrimp start to turn pink, about 1 minute. Add the beans and sliced garlic and cook, stirring every minute or so, until the shrimp are just cooked through and the tomatoes have burst open, 3 to 4 minutes total (the beans might start to become a creamy paste, which is okay and delicious).

  5. Remove from the heat. Season with kosher salt and squeeze the lime halves over the shrimp. Drizzle with more olive oil, garnish with the reserved parsley, and serve immediately with crusty bread if desired.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The shrimp can be marinated, covered, and refrigerated overnight.

Serving: If you're serving this dish in a cast-iron pan, which retains heat very well, make sure to eat it immediately as the residual heat in the pan will keep cooking the shrimp. If you need more time, transfer the contents to a serving bowl. 

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 days.