This spicy shrimp with grilled bread is prepared with a simple, spicy charred vegetable purée and piled high on top of thick slices of grilled bread.
This recipe is a great way to use up vegetables in your crisper that might be on their way out or you can buy them fresh and prepare it like I did.
The concept of this spicy shrimp with grilled bread recipe is simple. Simply char a few vegetables and purée them. Next, char some fennel and add the shrimp. I let the shrimp cook for just a minute or two in the hot oil before I add the sauce. I add a little bit of water and butter to thin the sauce out and add a little richness. Finally, after the shrimp are cooked through, pile them atop thick slices of grilled or toasted bread.
The result is a spicy, brothy shrimp and thick bread that soaks up all the delicious flavors.
For the sauce, I used:
- 2 orange bell peppers, although red or yellow will work fine. Green bell peppers will be too bitter, so avoid them. You can also use mini sweet peppers, too.
- 1 hot pepper, such as red Fresno or Thai chili or jalapeño
- 1 yellow onion, or 2 shallots
- 1 ripe tomato
- 1 tablespoon Amarillo paste, this is optional but I added it for more heat
I begin toasting the bread as the fennel is charring, so everything finishes cooking at the same time.
You will absolutely love this easy dinner for two recipe! You can add any number of ingredients to the sauce, such as drained cannellini beans or green peas for a bit of additional brightness!
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Spicy Shrimp with Grilled Bread
- Grill pan or cast iron skillet
- Food processor
- Wide pot
- 2 orange bell peppers trimmed and seeds removed
- 1 yellow onion peeled and quartered
- 1 red Fresno chili pepper trimmed (seeds removed, if desired)
- 1 tomato trimmed
- 1 tablespoon Amarillo paste more or less to taste, optional
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 2 tablespoons butter optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Water as needed
- 2 teaspoons neutral cooking oil
- 1 fennel bulb trimmed, cored, and sliced; fronds reserved
- 1 pound large shrimp peeled and deveined
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 thick slices of crusty bread
- Butter or extra virgin olive oil
Prepare the Sauce:
- Turn the broiler on. Arrange the vegetables on a grill pan or in a cast-iron skillet (or baking sheet). Drizzle the vegetables with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the broiler until charred and softened, about 4-6 minutes. Flip once during cooking and check the vegetables regularly to ensure they don't burn. If using a grill pan, set aside and reuse for the bread later!
- Remove the vegetables from the broiler and transfer to a food processor and pulse until puréed. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the Amarillo paste, if using. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Start the Fennel:
- Heat the oil in a wide pot over medium-high until very hot. Add the sliced fennel and cook without moving for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Grill the Bread:
- As the fennel is cooking, heat a pat or two of butter or a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil in the grill pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the bread and cook without moving for 2-3 minutes until very toasted. Flip and reduce the heat to low to allow the bread the continue to toast as you cook the shrimp.
Finish the Spicy Shrimp:
- Pat the shrimp dry and season with salt and pepper. Add them to the pot, in an even layer, with the fennel and cook without moving for 1-2 minutes.
- Pour the reserved puréed sauce into the pot and bring to a boil. Stir in 1/3 cup water and the butter, if using, swirling the butter around the pot to incorporate it into the sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the shrimp are opaque and cooked through. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat.
- Spoon a bit of the sauce into shallow bowls and use the back of your spoon to smooth it out across the bottom of the bowl. Place a piece of grilled bread in the center and pile the shrimp and more sauce on top. Garnish with the reserved fennel fronds. Enjoy!