It’s been a few days since I last posted anything pertaining to Rick Bayless’s Mexican Everyday, and that simply won’t do. Thus, here I am again with yet another Adventure in Domesticity based off a recipe from this handy dandy cookbook. This latest experiment came from a sudden desire to have grilled shrimp for lunch. Bayless recommends using his garlic lime marinade for such an occasion, and who am I to resist?
After the jump, a look at my attempt to grill shrimp. Plus, a jicama salad with watercress, romaine, and lime-cilantro dressing…
First things first: time to defrost some shrimp. No need for my handy new deveiner here.
Next, it’s time to make the marinade. I start by putting a few unpeeled cloves of garlic and two serrano peppers in a dry skillet. Time to roast and toast!
Meanwhile, I git to juicin’ limes.
Doing great things here.
After about ten minute or so, the garlic and chiles begin to blacken all over. We like that.
The garlic is now soft and the chiles charred. I let them cool down for a little before peeling and stemming, respectively.
Finally, the chiles and garlic go into a blender along with salt, oil, and lime juice.
A good ol’ fashioned purée.
The marinade is complete. ¡Aye!
They scrimps is in the marinade now.
One mustn’t forget to soak one’s skewers!
The juicing continues.
I’m now making the dressing for the jicama salad. So far we have lime juice and lime zest in the blender.
A nice handful of cilantro. Some salt and a jalpeño join the party next.
In no time, we have yet another purée, but this shall serve as a dressing, not a marinade.
You have to guess what this is. I’ll give you a hint: it’s fresh. A second hint: its PLU is 4626.
Anyyyyyway, I cut the jicama into chopsticks. A bulky julienne, if you will.
I’m always so impressed with myself whenever I do anything that vaguely resembles a properly executed julienne.
Some watercress, shocking on sale for $.99 at Ralphs, home to overpriced produce.
I toss the watercress along with some romaine in to the bowl. I feel so very healthy.
Well, these shrimps have marinated enough. I skewer them up and mentally steel myself for the impending grill experience.
Behold, the grill!
There are worse places to cook lunch.
That’s Downtown LA in the distance, for all you out-of-town folk.
Per Rick Bayless’s instructions, I turn the burners on medium and then place the shrimp on the grill. I’m instantly afraid that I haven’t let the grill warm up enough first.
Here we go!
Shrimp normally cooks quickly, and I’m quite concerned that after several minutes, they appear to be barely grilled.
Hmm… this is taking too long. I’ve done something wrong.
Nevertheless, after AGES, the shrimp finally cook up, but with nary a grill mark. What the? Plus, I discovered after the fact that some of the shrimp weren’t even cooked all the way through (they later received a bonus sizzle in my skillet).
Still, there were plenty of shrimp that were cooked, and so I plopped them on my plate along with the salad and some generous spoonfuls of pico de gallo, a.k.a. salsa Mexicana (also at the recommendation of Rick Bayless).
Lunch is served!
Quite simply a lovely lunch. None of these recipes will necessarily blow you away, but they all are perfectly suited to flavorful everyday eating. In fact, I’ve made this salad a second time (with cucumber instead because I had no access to jicama), and I’ve done the shrimp + pico de gallo combo three times. It’s really about as easy as can be once you’ve made your pico de gallo and salad dressing.
In terms of a marinade, I can assure you this garlic-lime concoction is serious business. The shrimp had so much flavor on its own that there was almost no need for the salsa. But oh, it was so delicious with the salsa too. One note: the pico de gallo tends to overpower the marinade; so save yourself some time and just toss the shrimp with salt, pepper, and olive oil and sear it up in a pan (that’s what I did a few days later, to spectacular results with the salsa).
Meanwhile, the salad is a true model of simplicity. Watercress, romaine, and jicama do not make for an elaborate creation. However, the flavors are light and refreshing, and the dressing sets off the sweet jicama perfectly. This is a great option as a side, but throw in some avocado and shrimp (or chicken), and you’ve got yourself a main. Like all the recipes I’ve made so far, there’s huge potential in the flexibility. I’ve already found myself mixing and matching various components of these dishes on the second and third go-arounds.