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Garlic Shrimp and Cannellini Beans adapted from Bon Appetit

Garlic Shrimp and Cannellini Beans adapted from Bon Appetit
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This is a one-pan wonder that comes together completely in just 30 minutes. 

My experience with Spanish cuisine is limited to making an occasional Paella and even there, without a true Paella pan, I am not sure how authentic my version is.  But I’ve wanted to delve a little deeper ever since I read “Ferran ” (Gotham Books 2011) Colman Andrew’s biography of Ferran Adrià y Acosta who is, arguably, the best chef in the world. And who wouldn’t be intrigued by a subhead that read “The Inside Story of El Bulli and the Man who Re-invented Food”. From his out-of-the-way El Bulli restaurant in Roses on the Costa Brava, the chef has drawn gastronomes from every corner of the world.   Now shuttered while he decides what his next step will be, the chef’s most famous contributions to cuisine will never be the province of the home cook.  Adria is most associated with “molecular gastronomy”, which is that particular style of cooking obsessed with its science and how food is chemically changed during the cooking process.  Despite his reputation for being one of its foremost practitioners, the Chef himself doesn’t consider his cooking to fit in that category.  Instead, he is quoted as saying that his goal is “to provide unexpected contrasts of flavor, temperature, and texture. Nothing is what it seems. The idea is to provoke, surprise and delight the diner.”  I won’t, for one minute, claim that this incredibly simple Garlic Shrimp with White Beans comes anywhere near the complexity of a Ferran dish.  But I think you will agree that this thirty-minute entrée will “provoke, surprise and delight” you.

Found at HomeGoods
Hooray for TJ’s 

          While the original recipe, developed in the Bon Appetit test kitchen, suggested medium shrimp, Andrew and I both agreed that the larger 11-15 count shrimp make this much more substantial. You get real shrimp flavor in every bite.  I can’t tell you how many places I’ve looked for Smoked Paprika.  For the longest time, I have had to go to Pensky’s to find a tiny jar of the stuff for oodles of money.  So you can imagine how pleased I was to see that Trader Joe’s is now carrying full-sized jars of Smoked Paprika for just  $1.99.  While I wouldn’t discourage you from making this with ordinary and much-easier-to-find Sweet Paprika, I would go out of my way to use the Smoked variety.  You may associate Paprika with Hungarian cooking. The truth is Paprika has only been used in Hungary in the last hundred years. But in Spain, its use goes back to the 1500s when it was brought back by the Conquistadors from the Americas.  Paprika is made from bell peppers or a mix of bell peppers and chili peppers.  In Spain, Paprika is called “Pimenton” and you may find it by that name in specialty stores. I found in the Gourmet Section of HomeGoods!  Spanish Paprika is dried by using smoke, most often the smoke from oak wood, which gives it a distinctive smoky flavor that’s lacking in the Hungarian version.  So leave that for Paprikash or Goulash and take a trip to Spain for dinner tonight. And unless you are a very light eater, this recipe, which Bon Appetit said was for 4, was dinner for two at our house.  Here’s the recipe: 

Garlic Shrimp and Cannellini Beans

October 1, 2012
: 4
: 18 min
: 23 min
: Easy

Cannellini beans take on the rich flavor of a tomato sauce enriched with chiles. Then they’re topped with big beautiful shrimp tossed in garlic and smoked paprika.


  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 2 dried chiles de árbol
  • 1 bay leaf, preferably fresh
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped tomato (about 8 ounces canned or 2 fresh tomatoes)
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 15-ounce cans white beans (such as cannellini), rinsed, drained
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 pound Jumbo shrimp (11-15 Count Shrimp)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Grilled bread like Ciabatta.
  • Step 1 Preheat broiler. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large, heavy, ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add 1 garlic clove, chiles, and bay leaf and cook, stirring constantly, just until fragrant, 1-2 minutes (do not allow garlic to burn). Add tomato. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, smashing tomato with the back of a wooden spoon until it is completely broken down, about 5 minutes.
  • Step 2 Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste is deep red and caramelized, 3-4 minutes. Stir in beans and broth. Bring to a brisk simmer and cook until juices are slightly reduced and thickened, 3-4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Step 3 Combine the remaining 2 garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons oil, shrimp, and paprika in a medium bowl
  • Step 4 season with salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat shrimp. Scatter shrimp over beans in an even layer.
  • Step 5 Broil until shrimp are golden and cooked through, about 3 minutes. While the shrimp are under the broiler, use a clove of garlic, halved, to rub over both sides of the slices of Bread. Toast till medium brown. Drizzle olive oil over the bread.
  • Step 6 Take the Shrimp from the oven and drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over shrimp and beans. Garnish with parsley. Serve with the bread.

3 thoughts on “Garlic Shrimp and Cannellini Beans adapted from Bon Appetit”

  • I made this dish for the third time and it was a hit–again. It could have used a tad more heat as I only used one chile de arbol as my wife ain't a happy camper if things are too spicy.

    It also occurs to me that I could have cooked this nicely in one of my own paella pans–each you'll have been perfect!

  • Dear Chris, how nice to hear from you! It's not always easy to please spice lovers and non-spice lovers alike. I do have another suggestion for you. Aleppo pepper, which I would describe as being like read chile flakes with some body, can be stirred in at the last moment, giving you the extra heat you seek while allowing your wife to enjoy her less spicy version might be the answer. You can find them in most spice stores or ethnic markets (particularly Middle Eastern markets) or you can buy them on-line here: https://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/p-penzeysaleppopepper.html
    Again thanks for writing and I am so happy you like this recipe enough to repeat it three times. Here's to the fourth!

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