Whenever I see a recipe for Shrimp, I am always drawn to it. Shrimp brings back childhood memories of my earliest restaurant experiences. It felt so very grown up to be served what looked like an Ice Cream Sundae glass where giant shrimp clung to the rim and horseradish laden cocktail sauce filled the bowl. Later, I discovered that there’s very little you can cook in such a short time that’s such a crowd-pleaser. (I don’t want to be a nag, but please use wild-caught shrimp. The varieties from Indonesia and India are dicey at best. ) Today’s recipe comes features shrimp in a rich sauce of ripe tomatoes and onions seasoned with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. The shrimp are barely cooked at all, the sauce is given the attention…but not for long. The whole thing comes together in less than 25 minutes, barely leaving to heat the tortillas that are a natural here: fill a warm tortilla, top it with avocado, sour cream and a spritz of lime and Olé! You’ve made something that will do Diana Kennedy, the doyenne of Mexican cooking, proud.
Diana Kennedy is a legend. In 1957 she and her husband, New York Times correspondent Paul Kennedy moved to Mexico. She became completely intrigued with the rural cooking of the country and wrote what is arguably the definitive English-language Mexican Cookbook. Her “The Art of Mexican Cooking (Clarkson Potter 1989 with a second addition in 2008) is well-worn in our house, a gift from our friend, Carlos Cordova. It’s one of 8 books the 93 year old Englishwoman devoted to Mexican cuisine. She still continues to cook and is universally described as being ‘feisty and fire-tongued’. Sample: “The Spanish ‘f***ed everything up!. The only thing they did right was to seduce the pig”. Well that’s what she said of the Conquistadors with a passion that belies the fact that she is referring to the conquest of Mexico by the Spanish 500 years ago.
The quote comes to us from Christopher Kimball in his relatively new venture, Milk Street Kitchen. Located in Boston, Milk Street combines a cooking school, radio and TV programs, and the magazine where Ms. Kennedy’s recipe appeared. It’s hard to underestimate last year’s furor over Christopher Kimball leaving Cook’s Illustrated and setting off to start Milk Street. Cook’s Illustrated was said to have earned Mr. Kimball in the neighborhood of 30 million dollars but he did not own that magazine. Boston Common Press are the owners and apparently trouble started brewing when the publisher felt that 65 year old Mr. Kimball ought to look for a successor. This is a terrible time for magazines and like everyone else, Cook’s Illustrated wanted to expand its digital reach, something that’s tough to do in the age of Google. Just search and ye shall find recipes for just about everything. So Mr. Kimball left taking 15 Cook’s Illustrated people with him. The publications could hardly be more similar. Like his former roost, Milk Street is funded by subscriptions to a mag-azine without a single ad. The two really do look a lot alike. But Mr. Kimball insists that they are different, that Milk Street seeks to bring international cooking techniques, flavors, spices and freshness to the American table. Cook’s Illustrated isn’t buying it. Mr. Kimball is embroiled in law suits. Stay tuned for their outcome. And while you’re waiting, enjoy Ms. Kennedy’s recipe and its technique for cooking perfect shrimp. Some caution should be used if you have an aversion to spice. This is the original recipe which calls for 4 chipotle peppers. I think you might want to start at 2 and work up to 4. But if you love spice, go right ahead, you’ll find it here.
Shrimp in Chipotle Sauce (Camarones Enchipotlados
Shrimp spend just seconds in a sauce of fresh tomatoes, chilies in adobo sauce, onions and cilantro to make spectacular tacos or a great entree served over rice.
- 4 vine-ripened tomatoes (1 1/4 lbs) quartered
- 4 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, and the sauce clinging to them
- Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- 1 1/2 lbs of extra-large raw wild-caught shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed and patted dry
- 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 8 six-inch corn or flour tortillas
- Avocado, sour cream and lime wedges to serve
- Step 1 In a food processor, pulse the tomatoes, the chilies and
- Step 2 any sauce coating them, and 3/4 tsp. salt until mostly smooth
- Step 3 In a 12 inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until beginning to smoke. Add half the shrimp and cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 45 seconds.Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining shrimp adding them to the bowl. Toss with 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Set aside
- Step 4 Return the skillet to medium-high and add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add the onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano and cook until just beginning to brown, 1 minute. Stir in the wine and any accumulated shrimp juice from the bowl. Cook until nearly evaporated. Add the chipotle mixture and simmer, stirring, until think enough to coat the back of a spoon, 10 to 12 minutes
- Step 5 Remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in the shrimp, cover and let sit until the shrimp are opaque and cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and remaining lime juice. Taste, then season with salt and pepper. Serve with warmed tortillas, avocado, sour cream and lime wedges.