Monday, March 20, 2006

Culinary Compromise

Saturday evening, The Feared Redhead got off work early, so we decided to go shopping for dinner together. We decided on shrimp. I wanted to make Scampi, she wanted something with a Mexican twist. I came up with a compromise.

There is already a trational Mexican dish that combines shrimp with butter, called Camarones al Mojo de Ajo. It's delicious, one of my favorite Mexican dishes, but it positively swims in butter, and since TFR and I are both dealing with serious weight issues, I wanted something with just a hint of butter. Recalling my earlier grilled recipe for Mexican flavored shrimp, I decided to combine the idea of Scampi, Camarones Al Mojo de Ajo, and Tequila Lime Shrimp. The recipe I came up with, I call Shrimp Campeche, since Campeche is a Mexican seaport, and sounds a little like Scampi.

Usually, when TFR wants to compliment me on my success with a new recipe, she'll teasingly give me "permission" to cook it again. This time, she demanded I do so -- and soon. I believe her exact words were, "Like, Monday."

Here's the recipe, expanded to be cooked for four instead of 2.

Shrimp Campeche

1 lb. raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 tbsp butter
2-4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup tequila
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp powdered Mexican oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
3 fresh limes
chopped fresh cilantro

You will need:

medium glass bowl
12 inch skillet
slotted spoon
chef's knife
matches

In a glass bowl, combine the shrimp and all of the dry seasonings, mix thoroughly.

Place the butter in a skillet and melt over medium high heat. Add the garlic, sautee until clear, then add the shrimp, stir . Immediately pour in the tequila. As soon as the tequila begins to boil, light with a match. Allow to burn until the shrimp is pink. Douse by squeezing the limes over the skillet (be careful to do this from a sufficient height to avoid burning yourself), drop the squeezed lime halves into the skillet. Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp to a plate. Reduce the liquid in the skillet by half, remove from heat, stir the shrimp back in. The shrimp can be served on a plate like scampi or served on corn tortillas. Sprinkle with a little chopped cilantro as a garnish.

Serves 4

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