It completely baffles me as to why the older I get, the more I crave spicy things. Is it my palate’s way of trying to prove that it’s still as daring as it was in the days of my youth? Whatever the reason, all I know is that my kitchen cabinets are full of heat-inducing spices that, more often than not, are finding their way into my everyday meals. The following recipe is super-simple, with punched-up shrimp getting a spicy makeover, and can be served with warm tortillas or over rice.
Spicy Shrimp Skewers with Charred Lime and Chimichurri
Ingredients (for shrimp):
1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ Tbsp cayenne pepper
½ Tbsp adobo powder (If you use the unsalted variety, add salt to taste.)
3 limes, quartered
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
Red pepper flakes, for garnish (optional)
1. Pat peeled, deveined shrimp dry and, in a medium-sized bowl, toss with cayenne pepper and adobo, coating evenly. Squeeze juice of half a lime over shrimp and set aside.
2. Thread quartered limes onto wooden skewers that have been soaked in water (so as not to burn) and cook on grill (or in a grill pan) until limes are slightly charred; about 5-7 minutes.
3. Thread shrimp in similar manner as limes and cook for about 3 minutes on each side until pink and opaque. To assemble skewers, arrange in alternating shrimp/lime pattern, garnish with chimichurri, chopped cilantro leaves and red pepper flakes (if desired).
Ingredients (for chimichurri):
1 cup firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, trimmed of thick stems
3-4 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves (or substitute 2 tsp dried oregano)
½ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp red or white wine vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1. Finely chop the parsley, fresh oregano, and garlic (or process in a food processor with several pulses). Place in a small bowl.
2. Stir in the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes; adjust seasonings. Serve immediately or refrigerate. If chilled, return to room temperature before serving. Will keep refrigerated for 1-2 days.