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Zox Kitchen

Zox Kitchen: May 24, 2013

Spicy Shrimp For Spring

May through July is the ideal time when warm water fishing for shrimp begins in the Texas waters of the Gulf of Mexico and along the east coast waters of South Carolina. The west coast waters along the Veracruz coast of Mexico carry these fresh crustaceans year-round. And of course we all have become familiar with the tiger shrimp of the Pacific Rim, also available year-round, but less tasty for my money than local varieties — frozen or fresh. Less well known is the coldwater shrimp fishing in the Pacific Northwest and in Norway.

This year-round accessibility of shrimp can too often influence us to lose our discriminating taste. Yet compromise is essential when that yen for shrimp calls. Rick Bayless, author, chef, restaurateur, and the Chicago foodmeister for Mexican food, has familiarized all of us with some wonderful, easy to prepare seafood dishes. His popular book, Mexican Everyday, highlights a recipe on chipotle shrimp I highly recommend — frozen or fresh; tiger or pink.

Chipotle Shrimp

Serves 4

• One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes — ideally fire roasted — draining the juice

• 2–3 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce plus one tablespoon of the adobo sauce — available in most large grocery stores

• 2 tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil

• 3 diced garlic cloves

• 1 ½ cups of chicken or fish broth or water

• Sea salt to taste

• 1-1 ¼ pounds medium-large shrimp (peeled and deveined)

• ¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro

Pour drained tomatoes, chipotles and sauce into your blender. Process until smooth. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant and golden — about one minute. Combine with the tomato mixture and the broth or water stirring frequently for about 5 minutes to achieve a light tomato sauce consistency. Season with about 1 teaspoon salt to taste.

Add the shrimp to the pan and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add more broth or water if sauce has thickened too much. Plate on dinner plates or large soup bowls sprinkling with cilantro. Add white or brown rice or linguini underneath the shrimp and sauce. Family and friends will love this dish.