Olive Oil Poached Shrimp

Olive-Oil Poached Shrimp and Other Happy Accidents

I listened to an interview with OMD on NPR over the weekend.

When they played a sample of “If You Leave” (“If you leave, don’t leave now / Please don’t take my heart away . . .”), a flood of memories came back to me. Big bangs and a perm. Puff-painted sweatshirts and jean shorts. Oh the jean shorts . . . acid washed, pleated, belted, frayed. What does 80s music remind you of? Help me reminisce!

My brother Chris and me circa 1988

My brother Chris and me circa 1988, eating pancakes on Christmas morning

In the interview Andy McCluskey describes OMD’s success as a “35-year accident,” adding: “So how we ended up selling millions of records and traveling around the world is still a mystery to us. But we’re not complaining anymore.”

McCluskey then goes on to explain how “If You Leave” came about. You have to listen to the whole interview to appreciate the serendipity of it all, but basically, the director of Pretty in Pink changed the script at the last minute and asked OMD to write a new song for the new ending … in one day. (No pressure or anything.) So the band’s best-known and highest-charting song in the U.S. was written in one day.

These kinds of last-minute, thrown-together successes remind me of what Mother Teresa once said: “We can do no great things. Only small things with great love.” That sounds a bit like OMD’s music-making process. In the interview, McCluskey says:

Paul and I started out as two teenagers in the back room of his mom’s house, with no musical training, virtually no equipment and just this mad aspiration to do music that was somehow going to be the future. And we had no desire to be a pop group that would ever be successful or sell records; it was like our little art project.

Small things with great love. A little art project. Mad aspiration. That’s the good stuff, isn’t it? Do you have a little art project? A mad aspiration about something?

Jack working on his art project

Jack working on his art project

These Olive-Oil Poached Shrimp were my little art project yesterday afternoon.


It was nearing 3 o’clock and I had no idea what to do for dinner. We had a 1-pound bag of easy peel shrimp in the freezer, so I set it in the sink with some water. And as the shrimp defrosted, I debated:  Sauté? Bake? Fry? Poach? Poach!

I dropped the little shrimp (shrimps?) in a pot of hot olive oil with a clove of garlic, like my dad likes to do. (He also uses a few slices of jalapeños.) They came out plump, juicy and OMG flavorful.


If you’re tired of the standard cold shrimp with cocktail sauce (which is very 1980s, btw), you MUST try these. When dipped in my Cilantro-Lime Sauce, these shrimp are, as John said: “PHENOMENAL.”

Olive Oil Poached Shrimp

Olive Oil Poached Shrimp with Best-Ever Cilantro Lime Sauce

Serves 4


2-3 cups light olive oil

1 clove garlic

1 pound (32 count) medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and dried

Salt and pepper, for seasoning

Best-Ever Cilantro Lime Sauce, for serving


Pour olive oil into a medium pot. Add garlic. Heat olive oil over medium heat until garlic starts to sizzle.

Add shrimp, 3-4 at a time, to hot oil. Poach until shrimp are opaque in the center, about 1-2 minutes. Using tongs, transfer shrimp to a paper-towel lined plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.


Continue poaching remaining shrimp. Cool each batch 5-10 minutes. Serve warm or cold with Cilantro Lime Sauce for dipping.


, ,


  1. Easy Lemon Tarragon Sauce | Quick & Easy Recipes |Cocina Marie - January 10, 2015

    […] It goes on everything — from simple grilled chicken, to baked salmon, to pork tenderloin, to poached shrimp. You know what else it is uh-mazing on? Steamed broccoli. As well all veggies (raw or cooked), if […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: