Mexican flavor at its most authentic.
Today’s recipe features shrimp in a rich sauce of summer’s ripe tomatoes and onions seasoned with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. (I don’t want to be a nag but please use wild-caught shrimp. The varieties farmed in Asia are dicey at best. ) 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 time to heat the tortillas that are naturals 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 late doyenne of Mexican cooking, proud.
Diana Kennedy is a legend.
In 1957 British-born Diana Kennedy 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. “The Cuisines of Mexico” (Harper and Row 1972) sold over 100,000 copies and contained almost 200 recipes. She went on to write 8 more cookbooks devoted to regional Mexican cooking. She continued to cook and teach right up until the end. She 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 one fact. She is referring to the conquest of Mexico by the Spanish 500 years before.
The Mexican food known to most Americans, Diana Kennedy wrote, was a travesty. This dish is not.
“A crisp taco filled with ground meat heavily flavored with an all-purpose chili powder; a soggy tamal covered with a sauce that turns up on everything — too sweet and too overpoweringly onioned — a few fried beans and something else that looks and tastes like all the rest” was Ms. Kennedy’s take on what passes for Mexican here. This recipe first appeared in Christopher Kimball’s “Milk Street”, and it’s decidedly different and authentic. We’re sure you’ll 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 that 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. And after it, several other dishes with a Mexican accent to try.
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 any sauce coating them, and 3/4 tsp. salt until mostly smooth
- Step 2 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 the remaining shrimp adding them to the bowl. Toss with 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Set aside
- Step 3 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 thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 10 to 12 minutes
- Step 4 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.