It’s mine and the hubs’ anniversary! We have been together for 8 years and married for 5; what an amazing journey we have been on, let me tell you. I was trying to think of what I could share with you to honor our special day and it occurred to me, I needed to revisit the first meal I ever made for my husband. This Mexican-Style Shrimp Scampi was a dish I created to be adventurous, but mind you, this isn’t an exact replica of the same meal I made him. I had to tweak my creation to reflect the techniques I have learned over the years and this is the result.
My husband and I weren’t even dating when I made him this dinner. We were just two good friends who just wanted to hang out one night; I offered to make him dinner and we had a great time. It took me about 6 months later to admit I liked him and even longer to want to date him. He had such great patience with me and my angst with my feelings. This dish, though, set us off on a good foot.
Traditionally Shrimp Scampi is an Italian dish with a beautiful balance of lemon and butter. It’s a delicate balance to achieve, but when you do, it’s nothing short of extraordinary. With perfectly cooked shrimp, tossed with pasta cooked to al dente, finished with some freshly chopped parsley, it is a decadent dish to enjoy.
I wanted to play around and expound on the flavors of Shrimp Scampi but play an homage to Hispanic flavors. I love the hint of heat that the Anaheim chiles play in the rice, along with the beautiful melody of tones contributed by the lime and cilantro in the rice. To get this creamy texture to the rice (hint: I didn’t use Arborio!), I stirred the living daylights out of the rice in the last 5 minutes of the cooking. I finished it with butter and the result was almost a risotto-like consistency. You can’t get prettier than that.
The shrimp in this dish, though, is obviously, and rightfully should be, the star of this dish. My key to getting this shrimp to sing is to marinate it for at least 6 hours. A lot of seafood, I feel, absorbs flavors quicker than your land-living creatures, so don’t feel like you need to marinate for days on end. If you are in a pinch for time, though, a quick 30-minute marinade would work just fine. When it comes to shrimp and marinades, I would avoid any acid containing marinades (citrus juice or vinegars). Reason being that shrimp cook super quick and I don’t want to expedite the process by adding any acid to my marinade.
A word about Jicama before I set you off on this recipe! I love jicama, I love the sweetness and the crunchy texture it has. It is mild in flavor and pairs so well with the roasted corn. If you want to skip the roasting of the jicama, adding it in raw with the roasted corn would do just fine and add a great different dimension to the dish!
I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as we did! If you would like any more tips to taking your dinner up a notch, please sign up for my 7 Simple Hacks to Elevate Your Dinner. They are tricks that professional chefs use every day to make restaurant food taste amazing and keep you coming back for more!
- ½ cup long grain rice
- 2 tablespoons Anaheim chile small diced
- ½ each shallot small diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 1 each lime halved
- 2 sprigs cilantro
- 4 ounces corn
- ¼ each jicama peeled and small diced
- ¼ cup Cotija cheese
In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine shrimp and marinade ingredients, place in Ziploc baggie and marinade for a few hours.
Saute in a small amount of oil, shallot, garlic and chile until softened and translucent.
Add rice and toast for about 2 minutes, stir to keep from sticking.
Add water, cilantro sprigs and cut up lime to the water. Cover with lid and lower heat until a simmer. Cook rice for about 20 minutes, add butter and stir until creamy in consistency. Add chopped cilantro and lime juice to rice.
Set oven to broil. Place corn, chopped jicama on a lined sheet pan. Drizzle olive oil, season with salt and pepper and broil for 5 minutes. Pull and let cool.
Warm a skillet over medium high heat and drizzle oil into bottom of the pan. Add shrimp to pan in a single layer and cook until bottom side is pink. Flip over and cook until other side is pink. Immediately remove from pan.
To serve, place rice on the bottom of the plate, top with corn and jicama, finish with shrimp and sprinkle of Cotija. Serve with a lime wedge on the side to add more acid to dish.