Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Chili-Rubbed Shrimp with Avocado Corn Cocktail

Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone!  In honor of Cinco de Mayo I originally wanted to make carnitas, but as the butcher was out of pork shoulder I had to improvise.  I had some jumbo shrimp in the freezer and when looking up shrimp recipes I found this one online at Epicurious.  I sent it to Alex, along with a recipe for skirt steak as options for our own little Cinco de Mayo celebration and he said we should just do both.  It was probably a little overambitious and gluttonous on our part, but Cinco de Mayo only comes once a year so you might as well live it up a little.

Alex and I disagreed over which part of our meal was our favorite.  I thought that the shrimp had excellent flavor, as did the Avocado Corn Salsa, but I somehow preferred the fajitas.  I'm not really sure why.  It was a really close call for both of us as to which recipe won.  For me it came down to a judgment call between the salsa from the shrimp and the grilled sweet onions from the fajitas.  While I love a good salsa, those onions were amazing.  Anyway, more on that on another post.  This shrimp kicks some serious ass.  The marinade is somewhat similar to the marinade I use for shrimp tacos, only I tend to throw in lime zest and use slightly different spices.  I tend to use other chili powders in addition to the ancho chili powder - often chipotle chili powder and a pinch of cayenne pepper for good measure.  But the proportions here allow the other spices to shine as well, instead of it being all about the heat of multiple chili powders.  The shrimp are a little spicy, a little smoky and a little sweet.  The contrast between the shrimp, the lime juice and the Avocado Corn Salsa makes it a wonderful dish - one that I thoroughly intend to enjoy more often now that I have discovered it.

Recipe after the jump!

Chili-Rubbed Shrimp with Avocado Corn Cocktail
Adapted from Raichlen's Indoor Grilling
By Steven Raichlen
Available on Epicurious

16 jumbo shrimp (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and deveined
1 tbsp ancho chile powder
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Avocado corn salsa (see below)

Rinse the shrimp under cold running water, then blot them dry with paper towels.  Place the chile powder, salt, coriander, oregano, cumin, pepper, and garlic in a mixing bowl and whisk to mix.  Stir in the olive oil.  Add the shrimp and toss to coat.  Let the shrimp marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Place a grill pan on the stove and preheat it over medium heat.  When the grill pan is hot, lightly oil the ridges of the grill pan.  Using tongs, place the marinated shrimp in the hot grill pan.  Cook shrimp 1-3 minutes per side.  When done the shrimp will turn opaque and will feel firm to the touch.  A good rule of thumb is that shrimp is done when it is opaque and when it curls up to form a "C" - if you hit the letter "O" you know you have overcooked your shrimp.

Spoon the Avocado Corn Salsa onto a platter or serving bowl.  Arrange the shrimp around the salsa.  Shrimp can be served hot, or cold (a la shrimp cocktail) with the salsa.


Avocado Corn Salsa
Adapted from Raichlen's Indoor Grilling
By Steven Raichlen
Available on Epicurious

1 ripe avocado, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 to 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 ripe Roma tomato, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 ear sweet corn, shucked and grilled until slightly charred, and then kernels cut off
1 scallion, both white and green parts, trimmed and finely chopped
1 to 2 jalapeño peppers or serrano peppers, minced (for a milder salsa, remove the seeds)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Place the avocado in the bottom of a nonreactive mixing bowl and gently toss it with 2 tbsp lime juice. Add tomato.  Stir to combine.  Add the corn kernels and the scallions to the mixing bowl.  Stir to combine.  Just before serving, add the jalapeño(s) and cilantro to the mixing bowl and gently toss to mix.  Taste for seasoning, adding more lime juice as necessary.  Season with s&p to taste.

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