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Though this recipe is Moroccan, its ingredients are undoubtedly reflected in Spanish cuisine as well. The Moors had a long stay in the Iberian Peninsula and their influence is felt to this day in the food, architecture and the Spanish language itself.
Recipe from "The Food of Morocco" by Paula Wolfert (Ecco, 2011)
Makes 4 servings
For saffron water:
½ teaspoon crumbled strands of saffron
1 cup hot water
1 pound peeled medium-large shrimp (24-36 count), deveined
½ teaspoons cumin seeds, preferably Moroccan
4 garlic cloves
¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt
¼ teaspoons piment d'Espelette, or other mildly hot red pepper
1 tablespoon saffron water
2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1½ tablespoons chopped cilantro
To make saffron water, add crumbled saffron to a dry skillet on medium low (not hot) heat until slightly fragrant, about 1-2 minutes, turning frequently. Crush again and add to water. Place in a sealable jar and store in refrigerator for up to one week.
Rinse the shrimp and wipe dry with paper towels. Leave the shrimp at room temperature so they are not ice-cold when they hit the skillet.
Crush cumin seeds, garlic and coarse salt to a paste in a mortar. Add the piment d'Espelette and saffron water and stir until smooth. Add tomatoes, garlic-spice mixture and olive oil in a large skillet on high heat. Fry for several minutes to develop the flavor. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring until they are firm and curled, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with herbs, stir once and serve immediately.
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