Latin Twist: Grilled Shrimp with a Cilantro and Garlic Marinade



Maybe it’s this gorgeous weather we’re having, or maybe it’s just that I’ve become re-enamored with marinades + grilling. Well, whatever the reason is, mis queridos amigos, grilled shrimp has been on my mind!

So I have to tell you the story of this grilled shrimp with a cilantro garlic marinade: the original version hails from Latin Grill, the fourth book I had the pleasure of penning for Chef/Restaurateur Rafael Palomino (by the way, THIS is the perfect summertime  book for all you grill fans!). The title in the book is Grilled Ecuadorian Shrimp. Now, my other big reason to include this recipe here now is because of the Ecuadorian bit; as I type this, my son has JUST arrived for a six-month stint in Ecuador, where he’ll be working on four farms (learning about sustainable farming!) and studying español. Can you tell I’m beyond proud?

But back to the point of this post: Simple—and succulent—this easily-adaptable grilled shrimp recipe is one that you’ll want in your repertoire!


Ecuadorian Shrimp
Photo by Dan Goldberg, from Latin Grill, 2010


Latin Twist: Grilled Shrimp with a Cilantro and Garlic Marinade

Yield: 2 servings

This luscious and perfect-for-summer grilled shrimp + salad dish is adapted from Latin Grill (by Rafael Palomino with Arlen Gargagliano!). It's perfect for a light romantic dinner al fresco, with some prosecco...or perhaps rosé, or your favorite beer!


  • 6 large shrimp, peeled, with tails on, and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 pinch toasted and ground cumin seeds
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Hombre Pobre salad (my recipe--you can check out here:, or your favorite salad!


  1. Place the shrimp in a bowl and add the garlic, thyme, cilantro and cumin.
  2. Season with salt, stir in the olive oil, and mix so that the shrimp is well coated.
  3. Let sit for about 15 minutes.
  4. Light a fire in a charcoal or gas grill.
  5. Place the shrimp on the grill, and grill until cooked through, about 2 1/2 minutes per side.
  6. Prepare a serving plate with the salad.
  7. Place the shrimp on top and serve.


About Author

Maybe it was the dinner parties my mom always threw—or the hours I spent prepping and cooking alongside her (and then on my own!). Or maybe it was array of fabulous dishes that my family sampled in New York City’s richly diverse restaurants, but I’ve loved creating, savoring, and sharing food for as long as I can remember. Living in Spain, and later in Peru, also greatly influenced my life. These years abroad taught me Spanish—and about living in different countries--but also introduced me to teaching English as a second language, which I’ve done—mostly in the US-- for the past 20-plus (yikes!) years. I’ve authored two cocktail/tapas books, Mambo Mixers and Calypso Coolers, coauthored more than 15 others (mostly food related!), and raised two children. Now I'm chef and owner of my own restaurant, Mambo 64 in Tuckahoe, New York. My message is the same, whether I'm teaching, writing, running the restaurant or being a regular guest on the Spanish-language network Telemundo (on the morning show, Buenos Días Nueva York!). My belief in food—and the power of food—is far reaching, and is married with another one: the power of stories. I’m sure that if we could all sit down and have meals together, sharing both tastes and tales, we’d have peace on earth. Enjoy!

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