Overcooking shrimp is a shame, which is why the folks at America's Test Kitchen came up with this technique. Residual heat brings the shrimp to the right degree of doneness, in minutes.
The original recipe called for 1 1/2 pounds of shrimp, which makes 4 decent portions. However, the frozen/defrosted wild gulf shrimp we used come in 2-pound bags, and there's no amount of shrimp we can't eat, and the extra shrimp would make a happy leftover lunch the next day. . . so we cooked the full 2 pounds in this time frame.
Serve with a salad of mango, avocado, scallions, jalapeno and cilantro.
- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds extra-large (21 to 25 per pound) raw shell-on shrimp (if using frozen shrimp, make sure it is thoroughly defrosted)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 scallions
- 1 or 2 limes
- Leaves from 4 to 6 cilantro stems
- 1 chipotle pepper en adobo , plus 2 teaspoons of adobo
- 4 teaspoons light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Peel and devein the shrimp; leave the tail shells on if the shrimp are to be eaten out of hand. Place in a bowl and toss with the salt, pepper and granulated sugar.
Trim off the scallion roots, then cut the white and light-green parts crosswise in very thin slices to yield 3 or 4 tablespoons; place in a medium bowl. Cut the lime(s) in half; squeeze them into the bowl to yield 2 tablespoons. Chop the cilantro to yield 3 tablespoons, then add to the bowl. Mince the chipotle and add to the bowl, along with 2 teaspoons of the adobo and the brown sugar. Mix well.
Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet (preferably nonstick) over high heat until the oil just begins to smoke.
Add half of the shrimp, spreading them in a single layer. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the edges turn pink. Remove the skillet from the heat. Use tongs to flip each shrimp over; let stand for about 30 seconds so that all but the very center of each shrimp has become opaque. Transfer the shrimp to a large plate.
Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet; once it just begins to smoke, add the remaining shrimp and repeat the cooking process. After the second batch has stood off the heat, return the first batch to the skillet (combining all the shrimp) and add the chipotle mixture; toss to incorporate. Cover and let stand for about 2 minutes; the shrimp will be cooked through.
Divide among individual plates. Serve immediately.
Adapted from "The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2010-2011," by the editors of America's Test Kitchen (ATK, 2010).
Tested by Bonnie Benwick.
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