Portuguese seafood… it’s a thing!
Liz and I haven’t travelled much yet. We’ve seen a bit of Canada, a bit of the United States and a bit of Portugal. But with so much more to see, we’re hoping to get to many other countries around the world in the year’s ahead.
Fortunately for us, with the popularity of food and travel shows, we get to virtually visit many places from the comfort of our home. These shows are our window to many beautiful places in the world and the delicious foods they’re known for. They’re also an inspiration for me in my personal learning and enjoyment of food as a home cook.
On our virtual travels we’ve learned that the U.S. is known for BBQ, the middle east for their spices and fragrant dishes, France for their buttery pastries, and the list goes on. Portugal’s thing is fish and seafood. They have an abundance of it and they’re very good at cooking it.
Personally, I’m glad I’ve had the privilege of enjoying many delicious Portuguese fish and seafood dishes. Having said that, I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface. I like knowing that there’s more to learn and savour in life.
Delicious marinated shrimp in 30 minutes
The beauty of the Portuguese shrimp dish we’re sharing here today is that it tastes incredible and it’s quick to prepare. What a pleasant surprise for such a delicious dish. It just means you can enjoy it more often.
The marinade prep and cooking steps for this Portuguese shrimp take only about 30 minutes. It’s the perfect ‘surprise guests are at the door’ fancy-looking and fancy-tasting appetizer.
I usually have a bag or two of shrimp in the freezer for when the craving hits us. Even from frozen it’s quick. I just thaw it in water for a little bit, and it’s ready to prepare.
Marinating in vinha d’alhos, is a very popular cooking technique in Portugal
Vinha d’alhos marinade is typically made with wine (vinho), garlic (alhos), salt, and other spices which tend to be regionally-specific. These magical juices elevate meat or fish dishes. It’s like a flavour explosion happens!
I always remember hearing the words vinha d’alhos growing up in a Portuguese home. The flavour and smell of beef, chicken, pork, fish and seafood in a wine and garlic marinade are just so familiar to me!
Vinha d’alhos might taste familiar to folks around other parts of the world too. According to my internet research this originated from the Portuguese islands of Madeira and the Azores. It was brought to the Americas, Africa, India and more, as far back as the 15th century, where it’s known by other names. For example, ‘pickled pork’ in the Americas, or ‘calvinadage’ in Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana. India has a version of this known as vindaloo; and in Goa (an Indian state) they have a version known as vindalho which is closer to the Portuguese name.
Isn’t it cool how we’re all connected. Makes our big world feel a little bit smaller.
Shrimp… my valentine’s card for Liz 😂
Liz can explain this one…
Nelson and I don’t make a big deal of Valentine’s Day. We do try to go out for nice dinners together every once in a while…just because. However, our last really nice dinner out was a year ago, before the COVID lockdowns happened. We’ve only been out together (just the two of us) for a patio meal once since the pandemic.
We decided that for this Valentine’s, since we’re still in lockdown, we’d at least go for a drive — with drive-thru coffees in hand. To my surprise, before we went out, while I was busy playing Minecraft with our little guy, Nelson made this deliciousness for me. I knew I was getting a scent of familiar flavours, but I wasn’t expecting this (and quite frankly, Nelson is often in the kitchen making amazing meals for us, so I didn’t think this was on its way). We sat together and devoured this whole pan of Portuguese shrimp. I started by saying I wasn’t hungry, but I couldn’t stop myself. I polished off a fair half and then took a piece of bread and soaked up the vinha d’alho goodness from the bottom of the pan. If you’re Portuguese… you get it.
My goodness… this was so good. Nelson knows the way to my heart. Honestly, this made me happy. I truly appreciated and enjoyed this more than I would have a bouquet of roses. Maybe that’s just me, but I’m good with that.
Don’t wait for surprise guests or a special date on the calendar. Try this dish today, and make any day yummy.
Quick Portuguese shrimp in wine and garlic marinade – Camarão de vinha d’alhos
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 lbs or 450g black tiger shrimp 31-40/peel on, thawed
- 3/4 cups white wine
- 2 cloves garlic sliced thin
- 2 tbsp sweet pepper paste
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp hot sauce I used tabasco. Adjust to your preferred heat tolerance
- 1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the wine, garlic, pepper paste, salt, pepper, paprika and hot sauce.
- Pat down the shrimp with paper towel to remove moisture.
- Place the shrimp in a bowl along with the marinade, and mix to make sure the shrimp is coated.
- Let the shrimp sit in the marinade for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Heat the butter in a frying pan between medium low and medium heat.
- Once the butter starts to bubble, add the shrimp and marinade to the pan.
- Spread out the shrimp and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes or until the bottom side of the shrimp turn red.
- Flip over the shrimp and cook the other side for another 3 to 4 minutes or until the second side of the shrimp also turn red.
- Turn off the heat, transfer the shrimp to a serving dish and sprinkle the chopped parsley over-top.
- Don't forget the crusty bread to soak up the sauce. Enjoy!
- If your shrimp is frozen, place it in cold water for a few minutes to defrost quickly. Don’t forget to pat it down with paper towels.
- Feel free to use smaller or larger shrimp, and adjust the cook time depending on the size.
- We find that peel-on adds more flavour, but peel off works as well.