Mexican Seafood Recipe: Shrimp in a Garlic Bath

In this traditional dish, called al mojo de ajo in Mexico, a quick, rustic sauce of garlic and dried chile slivers is cooked in the same pan as juicy rock shrimp.

[Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/robynmac]
Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/robynmac

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

1⁄4 cup olive oil

10 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

3⁄4 pound rock or medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, washed, and dried

Salt and pepper to taste

1 large ancho chile, wiped clean, stemmed, seeded, and finely julienned

3 tablespoons chicken stock or clam juice

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

2 cups cooked white rice

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat.

  2. Cook the garlic slices until tender but not brown, 2 to 3 minutes.

  3. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels and reserve.

  4. Turn the heat under the pan up to high. Quickly toss the shrimp with the salt and pepper in a bowl. When the oil is nearly smoking, add the shrimp.

  5. Sauté, stirring and shaking the pan to prevent sticking, 3 to 4 minutes or just until the shrimp are still slightly undercooked. Remove from the heat.

  6. With a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a platter, leaving as much liquid as possible in the pan.

  7. Return the pan to the burner and reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic slices and chile and sauté, stirring frequently, until the oil begins to turn orange from the chile.

  8. Stir in the chicken stock or clam juice, along with the shrimp and any juice that has collected on the platter.

  9. Add the lime juice and parsley, bring to a boil, and remove from the heat.

  10. Serve immediately over white rice.

Whatever you do, don’t reduce the quantity of garlic called for in this recipe. What’s the point of a mild-mannered garlic bath? The trick is to cook the garlic slowly and carefully, without browning, for a delicious sauce that doesn’t overpower the fish.

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