By taking a simple cup of olive oil and infusing it with your favorite herbs and spices, or in this case chipotle peppers and garlic, you create a cooking base that explodes with aroma and flavor.
Making the oil was easy enough. If it hadn’t been for the small bits chopped garlic, I could have sworn I was watching a sauce pan that was half filled with Champagne. The golden olive oil slow simmering on the stove top produced tiny bubbles that slowly made their way to the surface and as the garlic steeped, the house was filled with the most amazing toasty aroma.
And when you stir in thin strips of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, the flavor is kicked up to the amazing level. And a quick squeeze of lime towards the end creates a sparkling finale.
The oil can be made in advance and refrigerated. When you’re ready to fry the shrimp in the oil it all comes together in a flash. After plating the shrimp sprinkle some of the garlic and peppers from the warm oil. Wonderful!
Are you a shrimp fan? A garlic fan? You’ll love this quick fried entree. Let’s take a look.
- ¾ cup peeled whole garlic cloves (about 2 large heads)
- 1 cup good-quality oil, preferably extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste
- 3 limes
- 2 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, seeded and cut into thin strips
- 2 pounds (about 48) medium-large shrimp, peeled (leaving the last joint and tail intact if you wish)
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley (optional)
- Either chop garlic with a sharp knife into ⅛-inch bits or drop cloves through feed tube of a running food processor and process until pieces are roughly ⅛ inch. You should have about ½ cup chopped garlic.
- Scoop into a small (1-quart) saucepan, measure in oil (use all of it for even cooking) and ½ teaspoon salt, and set over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally as mixture comes barely to a simmer (there should be just a hint of movement on the surface of the oil). Adjust the heat to very lowest possible setting to keep mixture at that very gentle simmer (bubbles will rise in the pot like mineral water).
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is a soft and pale golden (the color of light brown sugar), about 30 minutes (the slower the cooking, the sweeter the garlic).
- Squeeze juice of 1 of the limes into the pan and simmer until most of the juice has evaporated or been absorbed into the garlic, about 5 minutes. Stir in chiles, then taste the mojo de ajo and add a little more salt to taste.
- Keep pan over low heat, so garlic will be warm when shrimp are ready. Cut remaining limes into wedges, scoop into a serving bowl and set on the table.
- To make shrimp
- Devein shrimp.
- Over medium-high heat, set a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet and spoon in 1½ tablespoons of oil (but not the garlic) from the mojo. Add half of the shrimp to the skillet, sprinkle generously with salt, then stir gently and continuously until shrimp are just cooked through, 3 or 4 minutes. Stir in cilantro or parsley if desired.
- Scoop cooked shrimp onto deep serving platter. Repeat steps for cooking shrimp with the remaining half and another 1½ tablespoons of the garlicky oil. When all the shrimp are cooked, use a slotted spoon to scoop out the warm bits of garlic and chiles from the pan, and douse them over shrimp. You may have as much as ⅓ cup of the oil leftover, for which you’ll be grateful — it’s wonderful for sautéeing practically anything.
Shrimp in Sweet Toasty Garlic Oil…It’s What’s for Dinner.