There isn’t enough space here, not enough on the whole wide Web, to properly give due my love for the gutsy, earthy food of Spain. I love the garlic and olive oil and tomatoes, the shellfish and chiles, the lusty little bites of pinxtos and tapas. And oh, that jamón! Serranos and ibéricos, paprika-spiced chorizos, each a paean to well-tended, dry-cured pork. I hardly need an excuse to crack open a bottle of Rioja or garnatxa, but this pantry-friendly dish seemed highly appropriate, and a good culinary fix until my next trip to Barcelona.
For fuller flavor and texture, you can certainly prepare the dish with dried white beans (borlottis would be great), but I opted for canned beans to keep the preparation weeknight-simple. As with many Spanish preparations, olive oil has a bright presence here, so this is the time to break out your fanciest, best-quality bottle. Olé!
Garlicky Shrimp & White Beans
adapted from Bon Appetit, October 2012; serves four
- fruity, full-bodied extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 5-6 fat garlic cloves, minced
- one medium shallot, finely chopped, about 1/3 cup
- 2 dried chiles de arbol, or 3 dried whole red chiles
- one bay leaf
- 8 oz canned tomato (preferably fire-roasted), diced
- one tablespoons tomato paste
- one cup chicken stock
- two 15 oz cans cannellini beans
- one pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 cup Spanish chorizo, diced (optional)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika, divided
- 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- slices of grilled or toasted country bread
Preheat the broiler. In a small bowl, add the shrimp, two tablespoons olive oil, 1/3 of the garlic, one teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grindings of black pepper. Mix and set aside.
In a cast-iron pan or another heavy, ovenproof skillet, warm two tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat with the remaining garlic, shallot, chiles, bay leaf and a healthy pinch of salt. Stir until fragrant (be careful not to brown the garlic), about 2 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and a pinch of salt, stirring and smashing the tomatoes until they break down into a thick sauce, 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and continue to cook, about 3 minutes. Add the beans, chicken stock, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt, a few grindings of black pepper and bring to a vigorous simmer, cooking until the stock is reduced a bit (about 5 minutes). Taste and correct the salt and pepper to your liking. Stir in the diced chorizo.
Scatter the shrimp on top of the bean mixture and place the pan under your broiler, until the shrimp are cooked through and curled in on themselves, about 3 minutes. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with parsley and serve with toasty bread for dipping.
Note: Spanish chorizo is a dry-cured sausage and fully cooked; fresh Mexican-style chorizo can’t be substituted here. And I find that cannellinis packaged in glass jars have a better flavor than canned, if you can find them.