Shrimp in Chipotle Sauce (Camarones Enchipotlados)
Start to finish: 25 minutes
THE FLAVOR AND TEXTURE of fresh tomatoes were better than canned for the sauce. The shrimp spend just seconds in the pan and won’t be fully cooked; they finish later off the heat. The shrimp made wonderful tacos. To warm tortillas, wrap a stack in foil and place it in a 200ºF oven.
- 4 vine-ripened tomatoes (1¼ pounds), quartered
- 4 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce and the sauce clinging to them
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1½ pounds extra-large raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed and patted dry
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus extra to serve
- Eight 6-inch corn tortillas, warmed
- Avocado, sour cream and lime wedges, to serve
In a food processor, pulse the tomatoes, the chilies and any sauce coating them, and 3/4 teaspoon salt until mostly smooth, 1 minute. Set aside.
In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until beginning to smoke. Add half the shrimp and cook, stirring, until golden, 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.
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 mix- ture and simmer, stirring, until thick enough to coat a spoon, 10 to 12 minutes.
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.
Central Mexican Guacamole
Start to finish: 10 minutes
TOO MANY GUACAMOLE recipes are a muddle of flavors. Diana Kennedy’s use of just a handful of traditional ingredients allowed the dish’s simple flavors to be the focus. White onion mashed with cilantro and serrano chilies added the right amount of bite, while chopped grape tomatoes offered balanced acidity against the rich avocados. Mashing the cilantro, chilies and onion in the same bowl as the avocados kept their flavors in the food, not on the cutting board. We were surprised that we never missed the lime juice. Guacamole hinges on the ripe- ness of the avocados; they should be soft but slightly firm.
- 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 to 2 serrano chilies, stemmed and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped white onion
- Kosher salt
- 3 ripe avocados, halved and pitted
- 1 pint (10 ounces) grape tomatoes, finely chopped
- Tortilla chips, to serve
In a bowl combine 2 tablespoons of the cilantro, the chilies, onion and ½ teaspoon salt. Mash with the bottom of a dry measuring cup until a rough paste forms, about 1 minute. Scoop the avocado flesh into the bowl and coarsely mash with a potato masher or fork. Stir in half of the tomatoes until combined. Taste and season with salt. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the remaining cilantro and tomatoes.
Don’t discard the seeds from the chilies. This recipe relies on them for a pleasant heat.
Start to finish: 1 hour and 30 minutes (20 minutes active) Makes 2 drinks
THE SMOOTH, ROUND flavor of reposado tequila worked best with the chilies. Steep the peppers no longer than 15 minutes or the syrup will be too spicy.
- 1 cup plus 1½ teaspoons white sugar
- 1 cup water
- Four 1-inch strips lime zest
- Four 1-inch strips orange zest, plus 1 orange wedge
- 1 jalapeño chili, halved
- 1 habanero chili, halved
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoon chili powder
- 4 ounces (½ cup) reposado tequila
- 2 ounces (¼ cup) pineapple juice
- 1½ ounces (3 tablespoons) lime juice (1 to 2 limes)
In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of the sugar, the water, both zests and both chilies. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, then remove from the heat and steep for 15 minutes. Strain into a jar, discarding the solids. Let cool.
While the syrup cools, in a small bowl, stir together the salt, chili powder and remaining sugar. Spread the mixture on a small plate. Use the orange wedge to moisten the rims of 2 rocks glasses, then dip in the chili salt, turning to coat.
In a cocktail shaker, combine the tequila, pineapple juice, lime juice and 1½ ounces (3 tablespoons) of the chili syrup. Add 2 cups of ice and shake vigorously until chilled, 10 to 15 seconds. Strain into the prepared glasses.
Cilantro-Jalapeño Adobo Sauce
Start to finish: 20 minutes
Makes about 1 cup
BLACKENING THE CHILIES and garlic under the broiler gives this sauce a complex charred flavor. The garlic sometimes began to blacken before the chilies blistered, depending on the strength and placement of the broiler element. If this happened, we sim- ply removed the garlic to a bowl while the jalapeños finished. Our sauce packs moderate heat; if you prefer a milder version, replace two of the jalapeños with one large Anaheim or poblano chili.
- 4 large jalapeño chilies
- 6 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 5 cups (about 4 ounces) lightly packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lime juice, plus more as needed
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
Heat the broiler with an oven rack 6 inches from the element. Arrange the jalapeños and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet and broil, turning as necessary, until the chilies are evenly blistered and the garlic skins are spotted brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Cover with foil and let sit until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Peel, stem and seed the chilies and peel the garlic, trimming away any scorched bits.
In a food processor, combine the chilies, garlic and all remaining ingredients. Process until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. Taste and adjust salt and lime juice as desired.
Don’t forget to wash your herbs. Cilantro can be quite sandy. A salad spinner is the easiest way to wash and dry it.
PHOTO CREDIT: KRISTEN TEIG & CONNIE MILLER OF CB CREATIVES