Blackened Shrimp celebrates the essence of Southern cooking with its bold, fiery flavors and straightforward preparation. Whether you're hosting a gathering or looking for a quick weeknight dinner, this 20-minute recipe takes juicy shrimp and infuses them with an enticing blend of spices, for a vibrantly flavorful meal.
It's not just the allure of rich flavors in this dish, but its sheer simplicity. With just a handful of ingredients, the shrimp is seasoned and seared to perfection, then brightened by a burst of citrus from the lime wedges and a fresh touch of parsley or cilantro. With its blend of ease and flavor, it's a dish worthy of your regular rotation.
Ingredients You Need to Make Blackened Shrimp
- Medium Shrimp: Look for raw shrimp that's firm to the touch with a fresh, ocean-like scent. Peel and devein the shrimp, but consider leaving the tail intact for added visual appeal.
- Olive Oil: Choose extra-virgin olive oil for the best flavor. It should have a fruity or grassy aroma and note that unfiltered varieties might appear cloudy, which isn't a sign of lesser quality.
- Blackened Seasoning: Whether you use store-bought or homemade, be sure the seasoning has a vibrant color and scent - good signs of freshness.
- Butter: A higher fat, European-style butter adds richness and cooks without excessive splattering.
- Lime: Look for glossy limes that feel heavy for their size; they're typically juicier. They should be firm but yield slightly to gentle pressure.
- Fresh Parsley or Cilantro: Leaves should be bright and crisp. Avoid bunches with wilted or yellowed leaves.
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
The Magic of Blackened Seasoning
It is, of course, Blackened Seasoning that's the key to this recipe. Originally from Louisiana, this seasoning blend became popular in the 1980s thanks to the legendary Chef Paul Prudhomme. It's a mix of herbs and spices that offer a smoky, spicy, and somewhat earthy flavor profile. While many seafood dishes use milder flavors, shrimp's natural sweetness perfectly balances these robust spices. Commercial seasoning blends are readily available, but creating your own version at home is simple and guarantees that the spice ratios match your taste perfectly.
- Seasoning Evenly: Pat the shrimp dry before tossing with seasoning to help the spices adhere and coat each one uniformly.
- Get the Perfect Sear: Make sure your skillet is hot before adding the shrimp. This will give them a crisp exterior without overcooking the inside.
- Avoid Overcrowding: Cook shrimp in batches if necessary. Overcrowding the skillet can reduce the heat and cause the shrimp to steam rather than sear.
- Fresh Garnish: Lime wedges and fresh parsley or cilantro not only add a pop of color but also provide a refreshing contrast to the spicy shrimp.
- Making It Your Own: Feel free to adjust the blackened seasoning to your taste. If you enjoy a bit more heat, add a touch more cayenne or red pepper flakes.
- Shrimp Size: While medium shrimp are recommended for the best balance of flavor and texture, you can also use large or jumbo shrimp. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- Oil Variations: While olive oil adds a nice flavor, avocado or grapeseed oil can be alternatives for their high smoke points.
- Citrus Alternatives: Lemon wedges can stand in for lime, offering a slightly different but equally refreshing acidity.
- Herb Variations: Apart from parsley or cilantro, try garnishing with chopped fresh chives or basil for a different herbaceous twist.
How to Store and Reheat
Store any leftover shrimp in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. For best results, reheat gently in a skillet over low heat to avoid overcooking.
More Must Try Recipes
- Blackened Shrimp Tacos
- Shrimp Creole
- Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp
- Baked Coconut Shrimp
- Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
How to Make Blackened Shrimp
In a bowl, mix shrimp with olive oil and blackened seasoning.
In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter with the rest of the olive oil. Cook shrimp 2 minutes per side in a single layer. Plate, garnished with parsley or cilantro, and lime wedges; serve immediately.
- 1 ½ pounds medium shrimp peeled and deveined
- 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 2 tablespoons blackened seasoning store bought or homemade (recipe note #1)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- fresh lime wedges for serving
- chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
- Add shrimp to a large bowl; drizzle over 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sprinkle with blackened seasoning. Toss well to coat.
- Heat remaining olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until sizzling. Add shrimp in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, for 2 minutes; flip with a thin spatula and cook about 2 minutes more, until shrimp is just cooked through.
- Transfer to serving bowl or platter and garnish with fresh parsley (or cilantro) if desired and lime wedges; serve hot.
- It's easy to make homemade Blackened Seasoning in about 5 minutes with spices you may have on hand!