Tequila Shrimp & Chorizo Skewers
Recipe by: Mary Beth Clark
Makes: 8 skewers with 4 shrimp per skewer.
Tequila Shrimp encasing juicy nuggets of spicy chorizo sausage explode with flavor! When immersed in a tequila-and-olive oil marinade flavored with cardamom, Red Argentinian Shrimp are succulent. They do not toughen like many varieties of these crustaceans. Aren't they gorgeous? If you've tasted langoustines or crawfish, these shrimp are similar in taste and texture. Cool, juicy mango nestled inside crisp hot peppers are culinary marriage - you must try them - as well as crunchy fried okra. Enjoy!
32 raw large shrimp, shelled, deveined
2 fresh chorizo sausages or other sausage links (8 ounces or 225 g)
8 to 16 fresh shishito (mild), or jalapeno (searing), or Scotch Bonnets (explosive - best of luck!) peppers
1 ripe mango, peeled
8 bamboo skewers soaked in water to help prevent burning
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
Finely ground white polenta
Marinade for Shrimp
1/4 cup (2 ounces or 60 ml) tequila
4 Cloud Forest Cardamom pods
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
Whole okra (choose small-sized pods which are more tender than large-sized pods)
Kosher salt or sea salt to taste
All-purpose flour or "00" flour
Salt to taste
Cold sparkling water, seltzer, or club soda
Combine tequila, cardamom pods, and olive oil in a bowl. Allow to infuse for several hours up to a few days. About 30 minutes before assembling the skewers, immerse fresh or thawed frozen shrimp in the marinade. Toss to coat thoroughly and allow to marinate up to 30 minutes, then remove and drain.
While the shrimp are marinating, lengthwise split the peppers in half, and remove the seeds. (Be careful, because capsicum seeds can make your fingertips feel a burning sensation; you might want to wear disposable gloves.) Insert a small slice of ripe mango inside each pepper half. Reserve.
While the shrimps are marinating, soak the bamboo skewers in water. Drain just before threading.
- Lay each marinated shrimp flat on one side. Remove and discard the sausage casing. Shape the sausage into small balls, about 3/4-inch (2-cm) in diameter. Place each small ball of fresh sausage inside the natural curve of each shrimp, then gently press both ends of the shrimp together.
Thread the shrimp and peppers. Insert the skewer through the top and tail to hold the shrimp firm in a circle shape. Skewer the mango peppers, alternating with the shrimp.
- Cooking: Fire up that grill! (Or fire up your grill pan or broiler.) Drizzle olive oil over the shrimp and peppers. Grill or broil, about 1 to 2 minutes on one side, turn over and cook for 1 minute or until done to your preference. Serve hot or warm.
- Okra: Rinse the okra under cool water and drain well. Pour dry polenta onto a broad plate and spread out. Batter: Make the batter right before frying the okra because the water's carbonation creates a light batter; if left for several minutes, the batter becomes dense. In a bowl, pour in the flour and salt and stir. Pour in cold sparkling water, a small amount at a time, to control the viscosity of the batter. Somewhere between crepe batter and pancake batter tends to adhere well to the okra. Immerse the okra in the batter and turn over until coated thoroughly. Remove each pod, drain, then roll in the dry polenta grains.
Heat the oil to 425 F/220 C. (Remember oil temperature quickly decreases when adding cool temperature ingredients. It could lose up to 75 to 100 degrees.) Separate the okra into manageable batches, with only enough pods to float in one layer with airspace surrounding each pod, on the surface of the hot oil. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes, carefully roll over as needed, or until golden brown. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt to taste. The beauty of fried okra is its lasting crunchiness, for at least 5 minutes.