Today, I have a delicious, healthy and quick lunch fix for you all. These baked garlic shrimps with arugula and yogurt are super easy to make and ready in some 20 minutes. With lots of protein and hardly any carbs, this combo carries so many different flavours to appeal to your taste buds: Garlicky, buttery, lemony and mildly spicy shrimps, fresh and slightly bitter arugula leaves, crunchy sweetish red peppers and the rich, lightly salted Greek yogurt! Yum, yum, yum.
Having grown up near the coast, seafood was often on our dinner table. Yet that meant mostly fish, as my parents weren’t so much into shellfish. Only as a young adult, I learned to cherish a small bowl of garlic shrimps, enjoyed in a small food tent near a port, watching a chilly downpour outside. Yes, this is real, as summer holiday weather by the sea in Northern Germany is not always warm and sunny. So this is how I remember my first encounter with seafood soups and garlic shrimps. For many people, garlic shrimps are a reminder of balmy evenings on the shores of Spain or Greece. Not for me. So eating these in Mid-November, while it is raining and chilly outside, makes perfect sense.
Having said that, I have given these shrimps a slightly Mediterranean twist by adding these tangy arugula leaves as well as harissa powder, and by pairing it with Greek yogurt.
Harissa is a chili-based blend of herbs and spices used around the Mediterranean, most notably in countries like Marocco, Tunisia or Algeria. It comes in two formats – either a spicy paste with olive oil, or a powder. For details, check the harissa chapter of website spiceography.com. Chefs use powder when they need the spice to be sprinkled over dishes – as we do here. It can be store-bought or home made by mixing a couple of spices.
I prefer to buy fresh shrimps but I know that they are not always available. I usually buy them whole and peel myself. But frozen shrimps are of course fine too and are often sold peeled so you save a few minutes of your precious time.
Arugula is a great herb full of tangy and slightly spicy flavour, but can at times be a little bitter. As a rule of thumb, the bigger the leaves, the more bitter they taste – so aim for small, tender leaves instead. To take off the edge of the bitterness, soak your arugula leaves in salted water with a splash of vinegar to macerate before you sprinkle it on your meal. Arugula, also called rocket, belongs to the family of cruciferous vegetables and is considered very healthy, being full of vitamins, beneficial nitrates and polyphenols. How good that arugula is also tasty, adding extra zing to salads, pizzas – or baked shrimps like here.
All other ingredients are well known and need no further introduction: For best result, use unsalted butter, as that enables you to season yourself according to your own taste. Best buy organic lemons as the peel goes into the oven with your shrimp. Use sea salt or iodized salt, and black pepper from the mill. Fresh and juicy garlic cloves are best for pressing as is done here. Pressing the garlic makes sure that its flavour permeates the whole buttery sauce. For the yogurt, I like Greek yogurt for its creamy richness. Nothing better! For the red pepper, take care to buy a really fresh bulb with no soft spots or wrinkles. When eaten raw, freshness matters even more than when you roast your peppers.
Making this bake is pretty straightforward, and you can use the short baking time to quickly stir up your yogurt, cut your pepper and lay the table.
Prep work doesn’t even involve a lot of chopping. Peel, de-vein and wash the shrimps. Peel the garlic. Rinse the arugula and soak it into a bowl of salt-vinegar water. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze out the juice. Take harissa, salt and pepper down from your spice rack. The fact I even list this step shows how little there is to do actually. The only real prep step is warming your butter in the microwave or oven in order to make it liquid and pourable.
Start by setting the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit. My old oven took ages to get to that temperature which is why I always put that step on top of recipes, especially when high temperature is required. Heat your oven later if it is hot in an instant. Next do all the prep work described above and place your shrimps in a baking tray. Ideally, the tray is just big enough to hold the shrimp without having to but them atop each other. If it is too big, the butter runs out and spreads all over the place even where no shrimps are. You get the picture.
Then, stir lemon juice int the runny butter and press garlic into the mix. Pour it over your shrimps, and add the lemon peel, cut in quarters. Then sprinkle shrimps with harissa powder, salt and pepper.
By now, the oven needs to be hot, as the shrimps are ready to go in! They will bake for 10-12 minutes. You can see how the shrimps slowly change colour. They are ready when pink and slightly golden.
Meanwhile, prepare the sides. mix the Greek yogurt with a pinch of salt and sprinkle with harissa powder. Chop pepper into stripes and place them in a serving bowl. Then, pull out arugula from the water and shake the leaves dry.
When you have finished these tasks, your bake is probably ready. Pull out shrimps from the oven and generously spread your arugula leaves on top. Serve immediately as shrimp cool quickly.
This bake makes a fully satisfying light lunch for me. 10 shrimp per person is more than enough. You can dip the pepper into the yogurt and, in the end, mix yogurt and peppers in the delicious buttery sauce. If you like to mop up that sauce with a little bit of bread, serve some yummy low carb bake alongside. A savoury, herbed focaccia like this one from blog lowcarbmaven.com would do the trick. Or you add some extra crunch with keto crackers or these home made keto crisps.
Enjoy your meal – be it under the Southern sun or sheltering from rain! It will be equally delicious.
Delicious baked garlic shrimps with arugula and Greek yogurt! This super easy and quick lunch fix will make your day.
For 2 servings
20 shrimps, peeled, rinsed and de-veined
1/3 cup butter
3 garlic cloves
Juice of 1/2 lemon – keep lemon skins as they go into the baking tray for additional flavour
1 tsp of Harissa powder (sub with chili flakes or powder if not available)
1 handful arugula leaves
1 tbsp of white vinegar (for macerating arugula)
1 cup Greek yogurt (around 200 grams)
1 red pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
- Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Wash and the arugula leaves and soak them in a bowl of salted water with a spoon of vinegar to macerate. This will dilute some of the leaves’ bitterness.
- Squeeze lemon and set aside the juice. Chop the empty peel into quarters.
- Melt butter in the microwave (not maximum power) or the oven (at low temperature). The butter is supposed to be runny but not super hot. Stir in your lemon juice and squeeze garlic into the butter.
- Place your shrimps in a small baking tray and pour the garlic-butter mix over them. Place the lemon peel in between the shrimps, sprinkle them with Harissa powder and add salt and pepper.
- Put the shrimp into the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. The shrimps are ready when pink and slightly golden.
- While the shrimps are in the oven, mix the Greek yogurt with a pinch of salt and sprinkle with harissa powder. Chop pepper into stripes and place them in a serving bowl.
- Pull out shrimps from the oven. Take arugula out of the water, shake them dry and spread them over your bake. Serve immediately.
If you need additional bite, add some savoury low carb baked goodies to your table, for example low carb herbed focaccia, Keto crackers or crisp bread.
- Category: meals
- Method: baking
- Cuisine: Mediterranean