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Shrimp, my way

'This recipe is so good it makes people go nuts; if you like scampi, try this (or the scampi variation).' says Mark Bittman.

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

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3 or 4 big cloves garlic, cut into slivers

1-1/2 to 2 pounds shrimp, in the 20 to 30 per pound range, peeled, rinsed, and patted dry

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 teaspoon ground cumin (or more, to taste)

1-1/2 teaspoons spicy paprika (or more, to taste)

Fresh parsley, chopped

Step 1. Preheat broiler and adjust the rack so that it is as close to the heat source as possible.

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Step 2. In a large, broad ovenproof skillet or baking pan, warm the olive oil over low heat. There should be enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan; don't skimp. Put the garlic in the oil and cook for a few minutes, over low heat, until it turns golden.

Step 3. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the shrimp, salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika. Stir to blend and immediately place under the broiler. Cook, shaking the pan once or twice and stirring if necessary, but generally leaving the shrimp undisturbed, until they are pink all over and the mixture is bubbly. This will take from five to 10 minutes, depending on the heat of your broiler. Garnish and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

For Shrimp "Scampi": Don't preheat the broiler; use a large, deep skillet instead. Step 2 remains the same. In Step 3, omit the cumin and paprika. When the shrimp turns pink on one side, turn it over and add 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves. Raise the heat slightly and cook until the shrimp are done, about two minutes more. Stir in one tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, or vinegar, if you like and cook another 30 seconds before garnishing with more parsley and serving.

Shrimp with Spicy Orange Flavor: Follow the directions for the "Scampi" variation. Add two or more small dried hot red chilies and the roughly-chopped peel of one orange along with the garlic. Add the juice of an orange along with the shrimp and spices. Substitute cilantro for the parsley if you like.

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