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5 Delicious Desert Shrimp Recipes

by Pam Silvia

Did you know that Arizona is a shrimp oasis? Farmed in saltwater ponds in Gila Bend since 1995, desert sweet shrimp aren’t any less juicy than the imported shrimp we grub on from seafood restaurants.  

You can enjoy all your favorite shrimp dishes while sourcing this popular crustacean locally, so in the spirit of summer cookin’ and grillin’, here are our 5 favorite shrimp recipes that you can make with Arizona desert shrimp! 

1. Shrimp and Grits

Beyond the desert shrimp, corn grits, and seasonings, when it comes to this shrimp recipe, the rest is up to you. For your shrimp and grits, you may choose to throw in crispy strips of bacon or garnish with scallions—regardless, we hope you scoped out your shrimp from your local market. 

Here’s how to prepare shrimp and grits: after bringing the water to a boil in a pan, add salt, pepper, and the grits, cooking until the water is absorbed. Transfer the pan away from your cooktop and stir in some butter and shredded sharp cheddar.  

To prepare the desert shrimp, first rinse them and pat them dry. Throw in your shrimp in a greased skillet, cooking them until they turn pink. Drizzle some fresh lemon juice, and season them with some chopped parsley and minced clove garlic. After sautéing the shrimp for about 3 minutes, they are ready to be devoured with spoonfuls of grits. 

2. Desert Sweet Shrimp Paella

If you’re looking for some adventure in the kitchen, we think introducing desert shrimp paella to your home menu will leave your thirst for creativity—and stomachs—satisfied.

To nail a delicious rendition of this Spanish staple, you’ll need to sauté cubed chicken breast and chorizo sausage in olive oil. After the chicken is cooked through, stir in some minced clove garlic and smoked paprika, cooking for 1 minute. Then, add in tomato sauce (broccoli and green beans optional), and pour in chicken and seafood broths, cooking until the contents are brought to a boil. Stir in some Spanish rice and little-neck clams for about 10 minutes. At this point, reduce the heat to a medium-low setting. 

Toss in peeled desert shrimp and mussels along with a pinch of saffron. Cook until the mussels open and the shrimp catch a pink color—and until the rice is done. In terms of presentation, we think lemon wedges and chopped cilantro add brightness. 

3. Grilled Shrimp Skewers

In the midst of summer, we find ourselves craving the smoky charred flavors that only a grill can bring out of seasoned meats and fish.

In a bowl, prepare your grilled-shrimp seasoning by mixing some chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Generously bathe your shrimp in olive oil and sprinkle your seasoning on top. At this point, you’re ready to assemble your skewer and get cooking. 

You can choose to keep your skewers simple with just the grilled shrimp, or you can weave in pieces of pineapple, bell peppers, red onion, sausage—and more. Grilling your desert shrimp skewer can take as little as one minute. When you’re ready to get your grub on, we recommend squeezing some lime juice on your skewer; the char of the shrimp will soar with a touch of citrus.

4. Sautéed Cajun Shrimp

Our next desert shrimp recipe is simple to execute without skimping on flavor and spice. Delicious sautéed Cajun shrimp can be yours in 10 minutes with just a shortlist of ingredients. 

In a large zip-top plastic bag, combine your peeled desert shrimp with paprika, dried thyme, dried oregano, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper, shaking the bag until the crustaceans are coated.

Heat some vegetable oil in a non-stick skillet, and once it’s hot, throw in your seasoned shrimp. In about 5 minutes, your shrimp are done! We recommend serving them on a bed of rice and, if you’re looking for a spicy kick, with a green Thai chili pepper or two. 

5. Coconut Fried Shrimp 

To round out our list of shrimp recipes, we bring you a tropical offering. To make the batter for coconut-fried shrimp, whisk together some all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, and water until the mixture is smooth.

After letting the batter stand for 15 minutes, incorporate peeled desert shrimp, and one by one, dredge each soaked prawn in a dry mixture of shredded sweetened coconut and breadcrumbs. 

On your stove, fry the shrimp in hot oil until they are browned. Pat your desert shrimp dry and enjoy them with a creamy or tangy dipping sauce of your choosing.

Our recommendation? We think you should lean into the tropical theme with a homemade dip comprised of sour cream, crushed pineapple, piña colada mix, and white sugar.

We leave the cooking to you, but when it comes to outfitting your indoor and outdoor kitchens, you can leave that to us. At Spencer’s TV & Appliance, we’re bound to have something for every home cook. Check out our catalog, and call our appliance experts today!