May 4, 2014

Fiesta Shrimp

Cinco de Mayo is the perfect excuse to indulge in a smorgasbord of Mexican food (because smorgasbords are so Mexican). While there is a fair amount of historical significance, most people just care about the food. Let's be honest; I feel that way too. Just give me some tortillas and queso dip and we can discuss all the Mexican history you want. Bonus points if you bring tacos.

But, as delicious as they may be, tacos and quesadillas and cheese dip do get a little old. That's why I invented an entirely new dish, one I coined fiesta shrimp. I'm not really sure why I settled on that name, but it seems to capture the variety of bright, strong flavors as well as the obvious--it's shrimp.

The shrimp are marinated in a spicy chili lime sauce and grilled before I pile them onto some quinoa mixed with lots of fresh vegetables. I prefer onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, and black beans, but you can use whatever is in season. Corn would be delicious, and it's just about that time of year.

You can also adjust the spiciness of the dish, but what I wrote in the recipe gives it just enough heat to let you know it's Cinco de Mayo without ruining your palate for the rest of your feast. This dish is a wonderful break between the heaviness and greasiness of some of the more common dishes at Cinco de Mayo parties, but it packs enough flavor to keep your celebration going.

3 T Oil
1 Lime
1-2 Habaneros, Minced
5 Cloves Garlic, Minced
½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Cumin
2 ½ tsp Chili Powder
1 lb Shrimp, Peeled & Deveined
1 Small Yellow Onion, Diced
1 Small Bell Pepper, Diced
2 Tomatoes, Diced
1 Cup Quinoa
1 15 oz Can Black Beans, Drained & Rinsed

Combine 1 T oil, juice from the lime, habaneros, half the garlic, cayenne, ½ tsp cumin, and 2 tsp chili powder. Season with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp, toss to coat, and let sit for 30 minutes.

Heat 2 cups salted water in a medium pot until boiling. Stir in the quinoa, reduce heat to low, and simmer until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is translucent, about 10-15 minutes.

Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until almost tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, ½ tsp cumin, and ½ tsp chili powder. Stir in the black beans and quinoa and cook for another 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, grill the shrimp until cooked through and opaque. Stir into the quinoa mixture.

Serves 4.

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