Cilantro Garlic Shrimp


I’ve rarely made the same dish twice since I began cooking. Thus my motto: “so much food, so little time!” I truly live by this only because there is always something new to make, or variations to try. It’s just fun for me to cook and eat that way.

My husband really enjoys it, I think, because he grew up with the Monday night meal, the Tuesday night meal, and so forth. Seven meals, exactly the same, every week. Not fun.

There are a few dishes that my kids request when they visit home. One loves my black bean enchiladas, the other loves my salads with salmon, but even these are never the same because I don’t follow recipes. But one thing both of them enjoy and request often during the warm months, is this cilantro garlic shrimp.

In this shrimp appetizer, cilantro adds a wonderful freshness, and pairs so well with fresh garlic. So this shrimp is wonderful in the spring and summer, for any kind of get-together.

Cilantro Garlic Shrimp

Cooked shrimp, tail or no tail, preferably poached
Olive oil, about 1 cup
Fresh garlic, 5-6 cloves if you want a sharp flavor
Fresh cilantro, a whole bunch

Spread out the cooked shrimp on paper towels to dry if necessary, then place in a bowl and keep refrigerated.

To prepare the marinade, pour the olive oil into a blender jar. Add a generous amount garlic cloves, fresh cilantro, stems and all, and a little salt.

Blend until smooth, then pour over the shrimp and toss. Don’t overdo it – you just want the shrimp coated, but not drowning in the marinade. If you have any left over, keep it for chicken. It’s fabulous!
This shrimp can be made the day before, and kept refrigerated, but take it out of the refrigerator at least an hour before serving, so the olive oil doesn’t remain coagulated.
If you like the addition of lemon juice in this cilantro and garlic mixture, do not let the shrimp sit for long. In fact, serve as soon as possible. The lemon juice will cook and mush up the shrimp.

note: You could marinate cleaned, raw shrimp in this cilantro-garlic mixture, and then grill them, but it’s never quite the same. Some liquid always leaks out of the shrimp and they can’t be grilled properly. So that’s why I use pre-cooked shrimp. That way you’ve got perfectly cooked shrimp, coated with the lovely “marinade.”

46 thoughts on “Cilantro Garlic Shrimp

  1. In my Old Life, when I had a family to feed, I used to place all the recipes for the week in a folder and then shop accordingly. Usually, there were at least two to three new recipes I wanted to try. My husband used to say, as we were eating dinner, ‘Enjoy it. You’ll never see it again”. Too funny – and such good memories. There’d be times when friends of my sons would drop by around dinner time, so we’d just add another chair…. or two! PS I LOVE that green bowl !!!!

      • Too funny!! That’s really pretty darn bad. I know someone whose mother-in-law had a specific breakfast item ‘set in stone’ for each day of the week. Who would wand to live like THAT?! : O ) I bet he feels like he died and went to heaven, being married to you!

  2. The marinade looks delicious. I couldn’t handle having the same thing all the time. Though I do try to have a list of favourites that I know my family enjoys. But otherwise it is always something different!

  3. I’m not so good at making the same thing twice either! However one of my favorite recipes is a cilantro lime garlic shrimp that was one of the first recipes I ever posted. i could eat that every day! And probably this, too!

    • I’ve added lime and lemon both for a little zing, and they both go so well with the cilantro and garlic, but i prefer leaving it our just because any leftover shrimp get soggy.

  4. Mimi, this looks delicious. And it’s such a versatile mixture. I think I’d add this to everything. I agree with your philosophy! So much food, so little time. But every once in a while you need an old faithful. This can totally be it. For me it’s herb crusted salmon. I make it on Mondays, which is usually gym night and call grandma night.

  5. I could serve my husband the same meal every night and he’d never complain. That’s why I sometimes cringe when he makes the same request over & over. Now I’ve got certain recipes that I just can’t look in the face because they’ve been overdone.
    You’re so creative with your ideas and it must be so much fun to eat at your house – sort of like trying a new restaurant every night.
    I love the idea of cilantro with the shrimp. Although I’ve never tried it, it’s definitely going to go in the next time I’m making shrimp.

    • I grew up resenting all of the global cuisines my mother cooked when I was growing up, mostly because my taste buds were not sophisticated. She never made the same thing twice, except for maybe croissants, and now I’ve followed in her footsteps. But I do try to honor my grown children and make what they like. I ask for requests, but they eat just about everything. I would definitely get sick of making the same thing always. sheesh!

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