Flay's Grilled Shrimp with Garlic-Red Chile-Thyme Marinade

November 6, 2010 § 2 Comments

Sometimes I just want something easy to make for dinner. Nothing fancy but still delicious. So recipes like Bobby Flay’s Grilled Shrimpcomes in handy. Flay’s recipe called for shell and head on (his preference for grilling shrimp) so I decided to go with that. Although I love shrimp with shell and head on, the Mister finds it a bit tedious to eat. But usually he doesn’t mind if I’m doing the cooking.

I modified the recipe since I only had dried ancho chile and chile de arbol. What’s funny is that the name on the outside of the ancho bag was “pasilla” ancho chile. I knew pasilla was a different kind of chile although I wasn’t sure what it looked like. Anyway, after I had blended all the marinade ingredients, I tasted the mixture and nearly fell over. Woo zingy! It was hot but not as hot as Menu In Progress’ chile de arbol paste (nor as tasty). It was missing something, maybe a bit of sweetness. So pulling one out of the Flay playbook, I decided to add some Agave nectar for just a hint of sweetness, barely noticeable.

The marinade takes on a different taste once grilled. Grilling seems to bring out more sweetness (a tad) and was really good. The heat also seemed to have subsided so I might add more chile de arbol next time. The top skewer in the picture is the one with the marinade. I had grilled a few skewers with no marinade just in case we didn’t like it. But we did and I had wish they all had the marinade on them. This one would definitely be a good crowd pleasing appetizer. Definitely worth trying next time with shell and head off to see if the marinade penetrates the shrimp more.

Adapted from Bobby Flay’s Grilled Shrimp with Garlic-Red Chile-Thyme Marinade


  • 2 dried ancho chiles
  • 2 dried chile de arbol
  • 1 head garlic, cloves separated, peeled, and coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon of Agave nectar (can substitute with honey)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds shrimp or prawns, head and shell on


Place chiles in a large bowl, cover with boiling water, and let stand for 1 hour to soften. Turn the chiles over about half way through the soaking time. Remove chiles from the water, coarsely chop, and place in the jar of a blender. Add the garlic, thyme, Agave nectar and oil, blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper. Place the shrimp in a large bowl, pour the marinade over, and let marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.

If using bamboo skewers like I did, soak the skewers in water while the shrimp is marinading.

Preheat a grill to high. Remove the prawns from the marinade and grill for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side, with the cover closed. Best eaten using fingers. A bit messy but delicious! You can always lick the sauce off your fingers when you’re done.

§ 2 Responses to Flay's Grilled Shrimp with Garlic-Red Chile-Thyme Marinade

  • sawyer says:

    can these chiles be found at any market? lol at you calling this easy. my idea for an easy dinner is either a ramen (last night’s dinner) or chop up some raw vegetables and eat it w/ bread i know what you mean though…but sometimes easy for me means 10 min or less =) it loks great though and i’ve added it to my evergrowing lists of recipes to make

    • CAB says:

      Hey Sawyer! I got the chiles from Henry’s. I think ancho and chile de arbol somewhat common now in grocery stores. Ha, this was actually pretty easy since it took more time waiting for it to marinade than to make the marinade and cooking it. But I still think I got your time beat with just a can of garbanzo beans with some ranch dressing. 😉

      I was thinking about a quicker method after I posted by using canned chipotle in adobo sauce (in most markets) instead of the ancho chile. Just put 2 of them and the dried chile de arbol as is in the blender. Then there’s no waiting except for marinating time. And if not using a grill, then just pop these babies on a pan!

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