Garlicky Roasted Shrimp with Cilantro and Lime

The main recipe from the January 2013 issue of Cooks Illustrated was seasoned with Parsley and Anise, but instead went with a Latin-themed variation. I love shrimp, so unless something goes seriously wrong the recipe will usually get at least 4-stars. Fortunately, enough went right to give today’s recipe 4-1/2 stars. I found it impossible to find Chris Kimball’s recommended shrimp; shell-on, 16-to-20 per pound shrimp. The larger shrimp were supposed to promote browning; few shrimp will not crowd your pan, and leaving the shells on will allow them to brown longer because the shells are protecting the shrimp’s delicate flesh. However, I used slightly smaller 26-to-30 per pound that were factory-deveined and only had their tails remaining. While Chris Kimball warns that such a substitution would result in overcooked, rubbery shrimp that is over-seasoned,  I found the shrimp to be perfectly cooked. While the seasoning was strong, I personally liked their spiciness. If I can ever find his recommended shrimp I may give them a try, because his logic seems sound. But my shrimp were on sale for $4.99/lb and I’m sure his shrimp would cost at least double that.

Delicious and flavorful and ready in just an hour.

Delicious and flavorful and ready in less than an hour.


  1. Chris Kimball warns against using smaller shrimp, because they will overcook and absorb too much spices. I didn’t follow his recommendations and used 26-to-30 per pound, because I already had these in my freezer.
  2. His instructions for shrimp that remain fully-shelled are difficult to find. I’m not sure where he buys his shrimp, but all my local supermarkets only sell them with tails-on; never shell-on.
  3. Annatto powder, also called achiote, was in the Mexican food aisle at my supermarket. It was very inexpensive, but an equal amount of paprika could be substituted.

Rating: 4-1/2 stars
Cost: $13.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Low/Medium.
Started: 5:30 PM.  Ready:  6:00 PM

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here.  The descriptions of how I prepared it today are given below:

1/4 cup salt
2 pounds shell-on jumbo shrimp (16-to-20 per pound)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons grated lime zest
1 teaspoon annatto powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 lime, sliced into wedges for serving

  1. Defrost your shrimp using one of the following methods; (1) defrost in refrigerator overnight, or (2) by putting in a large bowl of cold tap water, replacing the water every 15 minutes. The shrimp will be thawed in 45 minutes to an hour.
  2. If you are able to find non-deveined shrimp, then use kitchen shears or a paring knife to cut through the shell and use a paring knife to cut to 1/2″ deep and remove the vein. But leave the shell on for protection against the hot broiler. Add 1 quart of water to a large bowl and dissolve 1/4-cup of table salt, and place the deveined shrimp to brine, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  3. Set an over rack so that it is 4″ from the broiler’s heating element, and begin to pre-heat the broiler. In a second large bowl, add vegetable oil, pressed garlic, 2 teaspoons lightly crushed coriander seeds. lime zest, annatto, and pepper flakes. Stir to combine.
  4. Drain shrimp and pat them dry using paper towels. Add shrimp and cilantro to bowl containing the oil mixture, and toss to combine, ensuring that oil gets worked into the inside of the shrimp.
  5. Place shrimp in single layer on wire rack set over a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. The wire rack will allow air-flow around the entire shrimp. Broil for 3 to 4 minutes, rotating half-way through broiling.
  6. Flip the shrimp and broil the second side for 3 to 4 minutes more, again rotating the pan halfway through broiling.
  7. Put cooked shrimp on a clean serving platter and and serve immediately, with lime wedges.

6 Responses to Garlicky Roasted Shrimp with Cilantro and Lime

  1. lorri says:

    I find shrimp with the shell, and for a reasonable price, at Asian markets. Of course, these markets are located in communities with concentrated populations of…. Asians ; – ). At least most of the time this is true.

    I’m on the West Coast and here is a link to one of the markets I frequent. I see there is one in NJ – of course this could be too far of a drive for you. FYI

    OH and – the recipe sounds delish. Will try it soon – thx

    • Hi Lorri,

      Thanks. I know exactly where that is. When I used to live in Hoboken I would bike by the store weekly (about 20 miles from where I am now). That’s a great idea about Asian markets, though. I bet I can find something nearer by.


      • lorri says:

        Yep. This is one of the few places i can find that carries find head-on shrimp too. Besides the recipes that call for a whole shrimp (with shell & head) the best tasting shrimp to cook – is first purchased with the head on. Why? Because nearly 100% shrimp caught today, anywhere in the world, is caught & immediately ‘processed’ on the boat. therefore the pure taste of the shrimp, is altered.

        here is a copy and paste description from a website: ” Shrimp can be frozen at sea by immersion in a cold brine or a solution of sugar and salt, by air blast freezing or by plate freezing. Immersion and air blast freezers are used successfully on shrimp vessels in North and Central America. Freezing in sugar and salt solution is claimed to give an improved glaze on the shrimp, and to make separation of the shrimps easier when thawing. ”

        However, I’ve been told when catching & freezing shrimps with heads (specifically for the Asian markets who favor this) they do not use the liquids described above. Hence the shrimp body stays untarnished.

        A grocery store up the street sells head-on shrimp for $10 a pound but in December had it marked down to $5. I’d buy it – peel it before cooking and either drop in boiling water for a minute or roast it with no seasoning. Serve like a shrimp cocktail and every person I shared it with, was amazed how pure and sweet the taste is. That’s because we’ve all forgotten what shrimp tastes like!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Just found your blog. I’m very excited about it – Thanks for many great posts and recipe reviews! I’m excited to follow your blog and cook some of these!

  3. Dierdra Doan says:

    It is great to find your blog!! Love it..I will be will be on my list to find good things to make and eat! Thank you! Hope your year is going better now….smile…

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