Big taste for a shrimp

15 Mar

I love tackling a recipe by a great chef! Yes sometimes it’s intimidating but that’s part of the fun! One of my favorite cookbooks is Great Gatherings (2007) by the Macy’s Culinary Council. Hoping that the Council will be front and center once again when the pandemic winds down because they are the source of many a tasty dish!

The book includes menus for various gatherings, e.g. brunch, birthday party, drop-in dinner etc. by each of the Council’s 16 celebrity chefs, the likes of Cat Cora, Tyler Florence, Nancy Silverton, Wolfgang Puck, Marcus Samuelsson and more. This recipe is from Rick Bayless’s Fiesta for Friends menu. Bayless is a well-known chef, restaurateur, cookbook author and TV personality. Warning, the chimichurri is hot! If you’re not into spicy, cut back on those serrano chiles.

Grilled Shrimp with Mexican “Chimichurri”

Chimichurri Sauce:

½ head garlic, cloves separated

3 serrano chilies

1 bunch cilantro, tough lower stems removed

1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, tough lower stems removed

½ cup olive oil


3 tablespoons water

1¼ pounds large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, with tail section of shell intact

To make the chimichurri sauce, set a dry skillet over medium heat. Lay the unpeeled garlic cloves and chilies in the pan. Roast, turning frequently, for about 10 minutes for the chiles and 15 for the garlic, or until soft and blotchy brown in spots. Let cool until they can be handled and slip the skins off the garlic and pull the stems off the chiles and roughly chop (no need to remove the seeds). Place in a food processor along with the cilantro, parsley, olive oil and 2 generous teaspoons salt. Process until nearly smooth (it will be pasty). Remove ⅓ cup of the chimichurri sauce to a small bowl. Stir in the water. Cover and refrigerate for later use.

To prepare the shrimp, thread the shrimp onto 2 parallel metal skewers (or bamboo skewers that have been soaked in water for 30 minutes). Brush the remaining chimichurri over both sides of the shrimp, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes for the spicy, herby flavors to meld into the shrimp.

Preheat a gas grill to medium-high or light a charcoal fire and let burn until the charcoal is covered with gray ash but still very hot. Alternatively, heat a stove-top grill pan over medium-high heat. When the grill grate or grill pan is quite hot, lay the shrimp skewers on it and cook, turning once, for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until the shrimp have turned from translucent to milky white.

Serve the shrimp either warm or at room temperature, drizzled with (or accompanied by) the reserved sauce.

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