Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mexican Garlic Lime Shrimp

As I look outside my window again I see my world engulfed in snow. Lots of snow. Denver had one of the best fall seasons that I remember, but now Mother Nature seems to make us want to pay. Suddenly I find myself thinking of all those warm places I’ve been and have yet to go. No, I don’t want to shovel. Most likely it will melt-soon, I hope.

Which leads me to think of Mexico. Beautiful, sunny Mexico. It doesn’t snow in Mexico. And there are beautiful colors in Mexico. Not gray, like I see today. My thoughts run to thinking about sunsets, talavera tile, cobalt blue, and fuchsia, bright beautiful hot pink fuchsia. And tequila. Ooh, a good margarita at lunch, on the beach, with my feet in the hot sand… I better stop thinking and get on with writing.

What I am sharing with you today is my daughter’s most requested recipe. She has called me from London just to get this recipe. She has called me from other places, too but now I am preserving it in written form so she will now have to call me for something else. But thank goodness I have a daughter that calls a lot so I am not worried.

A few notes about this dish. You must love garlic. You must love lime. And you must love spice in the form of chili flakes. You also must like a quick, easy to fix recipe that doesn’t require a lot of time in the kitchen. I had been searching for this dish as it reminds me of the lobsters I used to order in Mexico that were slathered in garlic butter. Now this is not lobster, nor am I in Mexico, and I also don’t have a waiter serving me-but despite all of that-this is a favorite go to recipe. And if you don’t eat shrimp you could try it with chunks of tuna, swordfish, or halibut instead of shrimp. You might also try it with cubes of chicken, but I have never made it past shrimp.

I get to use two of my favorite tools in making it, but these are not required. You can see my Milagro Tequila ( lime press which was the best gift that I have ever received from a tequila distributor. No, I have not received any other gifts from tequila distributors. Truly it is a great lime squeezer and my husband informs me that the tequila was very good, too. I also still use my Grandma Fanny’s garlic press which always makes me think of my Grandma Fanny and how I wish she could have lasted as long as this garlic press has; though she probably wouldn’t have used it for a recipe like this.

And last but not least, the cookbook I got this recipe from, Zarela’s Vera Cruz ('sveracruz) is a beautiful cookbook with wonderful recipes that I love to read. It is heavy on seafood, but I’ll be honest here-I have never gotten past this recipe. And let me tell you this- the book was worth it just to eat this. I promise I’ll try harder to find another dish to try but this one will always satisfy. Actually, more than satisfy…I lust over this dish. I’ll try another soon, I promise. And if you’re nice, I’ll share.

Mexican Garlic Lime Shrimp (adapted from Zarela’s Vera Cruz)

1 large head garlic- separated into cloves and peeled
1t coarse salt
2 limes worth of juice
Freshly ground pepper
1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined (I use 25’s)
3T olive oil
3T vegetable oil
20 dried arbol chilies (I use about 1 t dried chili pepper flakes, but you may want to test this)
1 T butter
2T Cilantro

Rice or couscous to serve shrimp over

Crush 2 cloves of garlic to a paste with salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the lime juice and a good grinding of pepper. Add shrimp and toss to combine. I let this stand no more than a ½ hour as the lime juice will start to cook and toughen the shrimp. Zarela only recommends 5 minutes. I also use the juice in my sauce because I like a lot of sauce though she says to drain the shrimp.

Crush, slice or chop the remaining cloves. Add 1T of each oil to pan and heat over medium heat until oil is rippling. Add garlic and cook for about 2 minutes until golden. Add chilies and cook for another minute being careful not to scorch chilies. Remove from pan and place in small dish.

Add remaining 4 T oil to pan again until oil ripples. Add shrimp with juice (at least this is the way I do it) and cook until they change color about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic mixture and cook about another minute. Stir in 1 T butter to enrich sauce. Stir in cilantro if you like it. Serve over rice or couscous. This will serve 4 but everyone always wants MORE!

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  1. Love the flavors in this dish. But 20 arbol chilies! That's a lot! The teaspoon of chili pepper flakes sounds about right, however. Years ago I used to live in New York, and loved Zarela's restaurant. Food there was good, so I already know this is a great recipe. Thanks!

  2. I am jealous! I'll bet it was an awesome place. I've had her cookbook for a long time and it really is a great book.

  3. I'm making this for my family when I go home!