One evening, I wanted to fix shrimp, but found we were completely out of ingredients for my stand-by preparations. We had made margaritas the night before, and so had tequila, triple sec, and fresh limes already on hand. The result was surprising, delicious, and quick to make. This recipe was born of necessity and resourcefulness, but has the flair and complex flavors of a much more intentionally crafted dish. Serves about 3.
You will need:
- 1 lb. raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 5 limes; zest 2, then juice them all and toss the skins
- half a bag of frozen peas
- salt and pepper to taste
- ground allspice
- hot sauce
- olive oil
- triple sec
- side dish: rice, rice pilaf, quinoa or couscous work well
1. In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with half of the lime juice and a generous splash of olive oil. Add salt and pepper and the lime zest, and mix until the shrimp are evenly coated. Set them aside to marinate at room temperature for about 20 -30 minutes.
2. Use the marinating time to prepare a side starch, such as spiced rice. Cook rice as usual, but add 2 tsp cinnamon, cumin, ginger, or nutmeg (or any combination thereof) to the rice before boiling. Bay leaves, black pepper, saffron, vegetable boullion, or cardamom pods are good additions, too.
3. In a heavy frying pan, heat 1 or 2 T butter until it melts and browns. Add a healthy pour each of tequila and triple sec; if you have a measured spout, pour the tequila to a count of 5, and the triple sec to a count of 2.
4. Once the liquids come to a boil, add the shrimp and cook until pink and curled. Add the peas and cook until everything is heated through. Pour the remaining lime juice over the top. Season liberally with salt, pepper, and 1 tsp allspice. Adjust seasonings according to taste; hot sauce is a nice addition.
Serve with the sauce over spiced rice, with a light salad – avocados and sliced jicama are good – with a side of tortilla chips.