Portuguese Azorian Shrimp

It’s been exactly 32 years since I stepped foot on my parents’ native land, the island of Saõ Miguel, in the group of Portuguese islands called the Azores.  I think that may be just a tad too long.

Photo Aug 07, 1 29 09 PM

My brother Chris (at age 14) and I (at age 6) looking at the Azorian landscape

Yet somehow, the memories of visiting the islands live on vividly in my memory. Perhaps it’s from glancing at photos which were taken during that time, or it could be from stories which my parents continue to recount about their childhood there, or about how much it has changed since then. Nevertheless, I think a vacation to the homeland is in order.  I want to see it with my own eyes, and through the eyes of my babes.

Photo Aug 07, 1 42 21 PM

Visiting with relatives in Sao Miguel, Azores

Located about 1000 miles from continental Portugal and a 1000 miles from northwest Morocco, in the Atlantic Ocean, this archipelago of 9 volcanic islands boasts an enviable beauty.  The islands, having been inhabited at different times in history, are all distinct, with differences in culture, dialect, traditions and of course, cuisine.

I can always count on my mom having a recipe box full of recipes of her native land. And after having just spent some time with her up in Ontario, Canada, I got an itch to start preparing some myself. On our day of departure, mom prepared Azorian shrimp. I cannot express enough how ridiculously delicious this meal is.  It’s SO good. And the best part, it’s super healthy, and it took less than 30 minutes to prepare.

I, myself, did not serve it over rice, however I would definitely recommend it! Or even with couscous! The juices which remain in the pot should NOT go to waste! So soak it up, with rice, with couscous or even just some fresh, crusty bread! Mmm! Mmm!

Lagoa do Fogo and green valley on San Miguel island

Portuguese Azorian Shrimp

Servings:  4-6

Prep & Cooking Time:  25 minutes


2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tbsp hot ground pepper paste (pimento)

1 tbsp red pepper paste

2 tbsp tomato paste

8oz beer (lager) or 3/4 cup white wine

3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

1-2 cups water

1 lb Shrimp, deveined, peel on or off as you prefer (I left the tails on)



Step One
Place saucepan on burner at medium high heat. Heat olive oil & onions.  Saute until translucent (about 4-5. minutes). 


Step Two
Add garlic, pimento & tomato paste, stir until blended.  You may have to thin this mixture out a bit with some of the beer or wine.   Add 1/2 of the parsley.


Step Three
Add shrimp, stir and saute for 2-3 minutes, coating the shrimp with the tomato/pimento mixture.


Step Four
Add remaining beer or wine.  Add water, just enough to cover.  Cook on medium heat for approximately 10 minutes or until the shells are easily peeled from the shrimp.


Step Five
Use a slotted spoon to remove the shrimp from the cooking liquid and serve with the remainder of the parsley sprinkled on top.

Hint:  Reserve the cooking liquid.  It can be used: a) to store leftover shrimp, if any, or to reheat; b) to cook white rice in; or c) to dip crusty fresh bread into. I used mine to make risotto the next day! It was amazing!

Click video below for visual instruction.