Saturday, October 12, 2013

Camerone con Chile Chipotle (Shrimp With Chipotle Chile)

My adventures with Chipotle chiles has been a bit surreal over the years.  When I first started expanding my serious interest into Native American cuisine, beyond what I had grown up with, I had a lot of trouble located them, either dried or in their canned form...and if you used to word to produce managers, they looked at you like you had horns growing out of your head!  Now you can't away from it!  So I watched a new loan word being created in the English language from the Nahuatl ("Aztec").  It is a fact that the Nahuatl language has contributed more loan words to English than any other Native American languages combined!  In fact it has done the same for just about every other foreign language as well.  Most of these are food related as well; words like Tomato, Chile, Avocado and Chocolate--all Aztec.  Etc. etc.  The word chipotle is a compound word that comes "chilli" or hot pepper and "poctli" or smoked.  So literally it translates exactly as "smoked hot pepper," which is, in fact, what it is.
This recipe comes from a wonderful book written by the super talented Zarela Martinez entitled Zarela's Veracruz, written with Anne Mendelson.  It is a beautiful book, but more importantly, it has huge historical value, since really no one had written a comprehensive book in English on the local cuisine of Veracruz.

She mentions that her inspiration for this dish comes solidly from her food travels in Veracruz, marrying two dishes that she had in two different restaurants; thus the idea of pairing up the shrimp with a chipotle sauce that started out as a seafood marinade was solidly hers; and it works beautifully!  She says that she personally likes it with a toasted country bread, preferably sourdough, but it is also really, really good with some rice that has some green, red or yellow bell pepper cooked with it; chicken stock instead of water as the cooking liquid adds extra flavor.  Serve a salad on the side for complete meal.

Camerones con Chile Chipotle

1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Soy & Worcestershire based Seafood Marinade or bottled sofrito 
6 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, with some of adobo sauce
6 large garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. crumble dried Mexican oregano (My Note:  or 1/4 tsp. powdered)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste (optional)

1.  Place shrimp in mixing bowl and over with marinade and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.  Drain well and set aside.

2.  In a blender or food processor, puree the chipotles with their sauce, add 1 of the garlic cloves, the oregano and 2 tbsp. of the oil, puree.  Add mixture to the shrimp and toss well.

3.  Cut the remaining garlic cloves into slivers.

4.  In a large skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium head until fragrant.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until golden.  Add the shrimp mixture.  Taste for salt (there will be some from marinade) and stir in a pinch, if desired (or needed).  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the shrimp are firm but not at all over cooked.  Serve at once.

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