Monday: Left-over Chicken and Orzo with Polenta Scumble
Tuesday: Linguine all’ Amatriciana
Wednesday: Escarole and Sausage Soup with Toasted Baguette
Thursday: Chicken Parmesan, Green Salad, Cracked Potatoes
Friday: Chipotle Shrimp Tacos / Guacamole
Saturday: The Harts
Sunday: Guacamole / Tagliatelle with Onion, Bacon and Tomato Sauce
I am, perhaps, identifying more closely with our battered Penguins than is healthy. But when Billy mentioned the other day that I was cooking hurt, I began to hope that my stalwart example might help Patrick Hornquist to get back in the line-up for the Cup series with Nashville, which, you may have noticed, he did. It’s not easy being a role model for professional athletes, but someone has to do it.
For those benighted souls among you who follow this blog for the cooking, not the sports commentary, I am, despite a very sore knee and an inability to stand for long periods of time, ‘back in the game’ (of cooking). And it was a mighty fine game last week. Our recent recipe offerings have been solid and you should cook them. But this week, we’re going to offer a winner from last week that we’ll be cooking again and again, and that you should cook tonight, or tomorrow, or Friday, or, what the hell, three days in a row – the Chipotle Shrimp Tacos. This and a cold beer is all you’ll ever need for dinner, maybe for life. It offers you a nearly fool-proof way to cook shrimp and an irresistible dinner without the fussy (and time-consuming) little bowls of chopped onion, chilis, lettuce, tomato and cheeses called for by most taco recipes. You could run a successful food truck with just this recipe.
Everyone in the Pool: Just above, you will notice a picture that may look familiar – but this is a photo of Bill Fettes’ Chicken with buttery orzo, which he cooked from the recipe on the blog, last week. Fettes who, due to rotator cuff surgery, is pretty much a one-armed paper hanger for the near future, has gotten the idea – so please share you own cooking, whether from our recipes or not. This is, after all, a social medium.
Note: It’s that time of life. You will have noted (above) Fettes’ surgery, echoing my own. Two weeks ago we spoke with our dear friends, Mauri and Lindsey, only to discover that Mauri has had a hip replacement and that Lindsey, with his bad hip, is taking care of her, just as Barbara, with her bad hip, is taking care of me. I suggested that we all needed to get together soon and Lindsey suggested that we meet in some flat place, without stairs or hills – perhaps, Kansas.
CHIPOTLE SHRIMP TACOS – Camerones Chipotlados
(adapted from ‘Milk Street’ – a web-site and podcast we highly recommend)
First, a word on shrimp. Unless you live on the Gulf Shore or own the Bubba Gump Shrimp company, you’ll be using frozen shrimp, so, unless you’re going to cook it as soon as you leave the store, skip that stuff in the display case, which was frozen and is thawing and going limp even as you look at it, and buy a good bag (they are usually 1.5 to 2 lbs.) of large frozen shrimp (15 – 20 is the right size for most recipes – i.e., 15 – 20 shrimp per pound. Smaller shrimp will work and are better for some recipes, but the more shrimp per pound, the more work for the cook). We splurge and buy the deveined shrimp, usually with shells on, since a lot of the flavor comes from the shell. In this recipe you won’t be cooking in the shell, however. IMPORTANT: The best way to thaw frozen shrimp is to put them in a bowl and run a stream of cold water into the bowl for about 10 minutes. At that point, empty the water from the bowl, toss in a bunch of salt and some ice, then add water and refrigerate them for about 20 minutes. Pat dry before cooking and dry well if you are sautéing or frying. This salt-water bath will ensure that your shrimp will be plump and have substance when they are cooked.
Timing: About 35 minutes from start to finish
Ingredients: (Feeds 4)
1 ½ pounds extra-large raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed, patted dry
4 tomatoes (a bit more than a pound), quartered (we used about 8 campari tomatoes)
4 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce (you’ll find these in little cans with pull-tabs in the Mexican section of most super-markets)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced (we used 2)
6-inch corn tortillas (those are the small ones – flour will work also)
¼ Cup dry white wine
½ cup chopped cilantro, extra to serve
¾ Cup olive oil
¼ Cup lime juice
½ teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and ground pepper
Avocado, sour cream and lime wedges, for serving
In a food processor, pulse the tomatoes, chilis and the sauce coating them and ¾ teaspoon of salt until smooth, about 45 seconds.
Chop the onion and the cilantro and peel and slice the garlic cloves
Measure out ¼ cup of dry white wine
In a non-stick skillet (12 inch wide), over medium-high (or a little less, if you have high BTU burners), heat the oil until just beginning to smoke. Add half the shrimp and cook, stirring to get both sides golden – about 45 seconds. Remove to a bowl and cook the remaining shrimp, then add them to the bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of lime juice.
Return skill to medium-high and add 2 more Tablespoons of oil and then the onion – cook for about 4 minutes. [Look, if things are beginning to burn, turn the heat down, reduce the cooking time – in general, when cooking, pay attention and use your head]
Now add the garlic and oregano and cook until the garlic just begins to brown (about 40 seconds).
Now stir in the wine and any juices from the bowl of shrimp and cook until almost evaporated.
Add the chipotle mixture and simmer, stirring, until thick enough to coat a spoon (about 11 minutes).
While this is cooking, in a separate, small skillet over medium-high, cook tortillas one by one, about 30 seconds per side to get a bit of color, and keep warm on a plate covered by a lightly-moistened towel.
Now remove the skillet from the heat, stir in the shrimp and let sit until they are opaque and cooked through (about 4 minutes).
Then stir in the cilantro and the remaining lime juice.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. And serve with warm tortillas, avocado, sour cream and lime wedges, and a cold beer. You will experience shell-fish heaven. If you want to attain shell-fish nirvana, eat these on a beach on the West Coast of Mexico while watching the sun set. (Ask the waiter to keep the cerveza and margaritas coming.)