SHRIMP AL AJILLO
Norman Van Aken, © All Rights Reserved
To say this dish is forward in its robust flavors might just be an understatement. It is a dish that means “Shrimp and Garlic”. I include a different version of this Pan-Latin classic in my previous book, “Norman’s New World Cuisine”. I am unapologetic in my fervor for big lusty flavors and this is a champion of proving so. If you must you could cut back on the garlic but please don’t tell me.
Yield: Serves 4
½ Cup pure olive oil
12 fresh, large, peeled and de-veined shrimp
¼ Cup butter
½ Cup very thinly sliced garlic
1 Scotch bonnet, stem and seeds discarded, minced
1/3 Cup lime juice
¾ Cup chicken stock
2 Tablespoons dry sherry
½ Cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
½ Cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley leaves
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1 small tomato, skinned, seeded, and chopped
4-½ inch slices soft white country bread
¼ Cup roasted garlic mash, at room temp or warm
In a large skillet, add the olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Now add the shrimp and cook until just cooked, about 2 -- 4 minutes. (turning over about half way through). Remove the shrimp to a warm bowl with a slotted spoon. Lower the heat to low.
In the same pan add the butter, stir in the garlic and Scotch bonnet and sauté 40-60 seconds, stirring. Now turn the heat back up to medium-high and add the lime juice, chicken stock, sherry, herbs, salt and pepper and stir well. Cook another 5 - 6 minutes to reduce the liquid and blend the flavors. Gently stir in the tomato concassé and cook another 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and turn off the heat.
Toast each piece of bread. Spread 1 Tablespoon of roasted garlic onto each toast. Put one piece of toast in the center of one soup plate per person and top it with three shrimp. Now ladle the sauce over the shrimp. Serve.