The journey through Mexican Everyday continues. Yes, I am here with my third Adventure in Domesticity in about a week’s time, and I’m continuing my journey through Rick Bayless’s aforementioned cookbook. For those keeping track at home, the results have been largely positive, save for the Pollo Pulquero dish which I evidently screwed up (and erroneously blamed on the recipe). Nevertheless, even as a miss, the Pollo Pulquero was still pretty good, and let’s not even talk about the Avocado and Mango salad that I made earlier this week. I whipped it up again today with leftover ingredients from the first go around (ie. the bacon, pepitas, dressing, etc), and I swear, it’s a big time winner.
Nevertheless, after having sampled Mexican Everyday’s chicken and salad recipes, I was eager to move on to seafood. My motivations were twofold. Or perhaps threefold. Many folds were had. First, I wanted to make a shrimp dish because, well, I love shrimp. Second, shrimp is a healthy option. Third, I had just bought a deveiner that I was eager to test out. And thus I recruited my dear friend Sly to take pictures of me as I tackled both this latest Bayless recipe as well as my new kitchen gadget.
Pics after the jump. Just a warning, what you are about to see includes graphic images of both deveined shrimp and my messy kitchen.
Here I am with my $4 deveiner. It’s much larger than I had expected. Some of you may be rolling your eyes at this silly tool, but I’ve come to detest the act of deveining shrimp by knife, and if this device can speed along the process, I’m all for it. And before you say “Just buy shrimp shelled and deveined,” let me assure you that sometimes shell-on is my only option at the store. So THERE.
Behold: the deveiner.
Me pretending to pick my nose. I’m classy like that.
First things first: I have to thaw out some fish stock. This affords Sly a chance to do one of her favorite things: document my scary freezer.
Let the microwaving begin!
‘Tis a very complicated process for someone like me. Ultimately, I simply nuked it for 3 minutes.
Some random clutter that has piqued the curiosity of Sly.
A lonely sponge lies in the sink. Again, Sly is endlessly amused.
Naturally, in the process of removing the fish stock, a million other things toppled out of the freezer. Here I am restoring order.
It may look like madness, but there is a method. Mostly, it’s meat from Costco. There’s also a bag of ice that takes up way too much space. You’ll also notice my handy-dandy assortment of frozen chili peppers (I highly recommend keeping a similar bag in your freezer). The pie crust — okay, that’s random. The vodka, less random. And the Hebrew National weenies weren’t purchased by me (and yet they’ve remained there for over a year). Okay, maybe some clearing is in order…
Meanwhile, pots and pans are ready for action.
Oh wait. Before I attack the shrimp, I drop some rice in the rice cooker — the better to soak up the chipotle sauce.
Tonight’s grain is sticky rice.
Unlike my freezer, my pantry is highly organized. First shelf: nothing but spices. Oh, and mint extract apparently. Second shelf is home to breakfast items, baking ingredients, and things of that manner. Top shelf is for canned and dried goods. WHAT A SYSTEM.
Finally, the shrimp.
Excitement builds as I unsheathe the crustaceans.
Time to devein. The rules are simple: stick the tool in between shell and meat and push. The vein and the shell should pop right out…
I’ve hit my first snag.
After some manuevering, I fit the deveiner all the way down the shell. Still waiting for the magic to happen.
Awkward finagling. Sly delights in my folly.
I’m left with a generally mangled piece of fish. Things look bleak.
Nevertheless, the first shrimp is done.
I have more success the second time around. Note the way the shell pops right off the shrimp. Keep an eye on the feet though. Make sure to pluck them off if they don’t slide off with the shell.
Even better, the shell takes with it the infamous digestive tract. Consider this shrimp deveined!
The learning curve is quick, and soon I’m breezing through the shrimp. Admittedly, the vein doesn’t always smoothly slide out of the shrimp, but it’s about a million times easier to grab it than with a paring knife.
The shrimp, deveined. One drawback: the deveiner has a tendency to strip away the tails, which some people like to keep on. Be warned.
The shells find a second life in this saucepan where they are eventually used to make shrimp stock (which in turn goes into the freezer. The cycle of life continues).
Me depositing the shrimp container in the trash. I had just washed my hands; hence, the tongs.
Next step: plug in the Magic Bullet. But wait! MY OUTLETS ARE OCCUPIED!
Not the cleanest of Magic Bullets. Don’t worry — this section never comes in contact with food. Only dust and dirt.
Meanwhile, time to do something productive. Here I am draining some canned, diced tomatoes (I purchased the recommended fire-roasted variety).
Into the blender attachment it goes. Very slowly. Sly grows fiercely impatient and demands I use my hands. I oblige.
Also joining the party are three chipotle chiles.
AND a tablespoon of that amazing adobo sauce.
Great news: I found an outlet, which means I could blend the tomatoes and chiles.
Moving on to the sauté pan. It appears as though actual cooking is finally taking place. In this case: crushing some garlic into hot olive oil.
Sly is enchanted by this third and final clove which more or less explodes into the pan.
After the garlic has sautéed for a little bit and turned golden brown, the tomato and chipotle mix goes into the pan. Five minutes of flavor melding follows.
Joyfully stirring the mixture.
After about five minutes, I add some of the fish sauce to thin out the mixture. It’s supposed to resemble a “light tomato sauce consistency.”
At last it’s shrimp time. They go in for about four minutes and require constant stirring, which just so happens to be my specialty.
Stirring and swirling, etc.
A few minutes later, this is what we’re left with.
I plop the shrimp over the sticky rice. Everything smells amazing. Lots of smokey aromas thanks to the chipotles.
Time for the big taste test.
This is actually my “Wow, that’s damn good” face.
One mustn’t forget a cilantro garnish!
Not the prettiest of pictures, but you get the point.
A much prettier pic (of the leftovers, no less).
Well, in case you couldn’t tell: delicious. Bold, spicy, and full of flavor, this chipotle shrimp should be an obvious pick for any home cook’s repertoire. The recipe is beyond easy (especially if you buy your shrimp already shelled and deveined), and quite frankly it can serve as the base for many different variations. Bayless recommends using scallops from time to time, but I’m sure chicken, beef, or pork would work perfectly well too. Nevertheless, big success!
Check out the full recipe here.