Friday, February 12, 2010

Mexi-Shrimp is mega-good

By Helen Klein

Shrimp is one of those chameleon-like foodstuffs.

With a mild flavor, they easily take on the characteristics of their accompaniments.

Some plum tomatoes, garlic and Parmesan cheese is pretty much all that’s needed to create an Italianized dish. Saffron, peas, rice and morsels of ham help transform the same shrimp into a Spanish-inspired delight, while feta cheese, tangy olives and spinach evoke the flavors of the eastern Mediterranean.

Looking south of the border for inspiration for a couple of pounds of shrimp was as simple as lining up a ripe avocado, a bunch of cilantro, cumin, chile powder, some vegetables and a lime. The dish was quick to make, effortlessly elegant, appealing to both the eye and the palate, and a hit not only with my usual appreciative audience — husband and kids — but also to the unsuspecting lunchtime visitor who didn’t realize he would be sitting down to a work in progress.

What made the finished entrée so successful? For one thing, the flavors melded together smoothly, yet the corn, the shrimp, and the colored pepper and tomato retained their individuality.

The shrimp were pleasingly tender, a tenderness that was enhanced by the soft, sweet morsels of pepper and onion, and the buttery chunks of avocado that finished the dish. Served with a dish of nutty yellow risotto, enriched with saffron, it was neither time-consuming nor complicated, yet it looked like I’d spent a good amount of time in the kitchen.


1½ pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp. ancho chile powder1 tsp. ground cumin
3 Tbl. olive oil1 tsp. salt
1 medium onion, sliced
2 medium colored peppers, cored and sliced
1 large tomato, cubed
2 ears corn, shucked
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
Juice of 1 lime
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 hass avocado, peeled and cut into chunks
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Combine the shrimp, chile powder, cumin and salt in a non-reactive bowl. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet. When oil is hot, add shrimp, cooking approximately 1 minute on each side, over medium-high heat, till just cooked. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add sliced onion to hot oil, and sauté over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, till onion is golden and translucent. Add sliced peppers and continue cooking, over medium-high heat, till the peppers are crisp-tender. Add a couple of tablespoons of water as necessary, so vegetables do not burn.

Add chunked tomato, wine, corn and garlic to pan, and continue cooking, over medium heat, until most of the liquid has evaporated, and flavors have melded. Return shrimp to pan, and continue cooking, another 2-3 minutes.Arrange shrimp on platter and garnish with cilantro and avocado.

Serves six.

Nota bene: My favorite tool for removing the skin from an avocado is a grapefruit spoon. I slice the avocado in half, then insert the spoon’s tip between the fruit and the peel, working it in until I have separated the two completely. I also use the grapefruit spoon to pry the seed from the center of the avocado.


Copyright © 2009 All rights reserved

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP