This recipe for smoked shrimp cocktail is a delicious Mexican twist on conventional shrimp cocktail, with smoke and fire coming to your from all directions. First from the shrimp, which you season with hot red pepper flakes and cumin and smoke over smoldering mesquite. Then from the cocktail sauce that features the sweet, smoky flavors of fresh orange juice and chipotle chilles. Add chillies to your liking, one for mildly spicy shrimp, two for pyromaniacs. Beats the cold boiled shrimp cocktail hollow.
Yields: Serves 4 as a starter
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Smoking Time: 30 to 60 minutes in a conventional smoker or 4 to 6 minutes on a grill.
Fuel: I like to smoke the shrimp with mesquite, but any hardwood will work. You’ll need enough for an hour.
Gear: Medium size bamboo skewers (8 to 10 inches)
Ingredients for the Shrimp
1 1/2 lbs jumbo shrimps, peeled with tails intact and deveined
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 scallions, trimmed, white and green parts thinly sliced
1 to 2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
1 tspn ground cumin
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for oiling the rack.
Rinse the shrimp, drain and blot dry.
Place the shrimp, cilantro, scallions, hot red pepper flakes, cumin and 1/2 tspn each of salt and pepper in a large bowl and toss to mix.
Stir in 2 tbsp of the oil, cover and marinate for 15 minutes.
Thread the shrimp on to bamboo skewers, 2 to each skewer.
Leave 1/4 inch exposed skewer at the point end and the bottom half of the skewer, shrimp free.
Place the skewers on a lightly oiled wire rack if smoking.
Set up your smoker following the manufacturer’s instructions and preheat at 225 ºF.
Add the wood as specified by the manufacturer.
Place the rack with the shrimp in the smoker and smoke until bronzed with smoke and firm to the touch, 30 to 60 minutes, or as needed.
Baste with the remaining 2 tbsps of oil after 20 minutes,
Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to high (450ºF) Toss the wood chunks or chips on the coals.
Direct grill the shrimp, turning them over once, until sizzling and brown on the outside and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Slide a folded strip of aluminum foil under the exposed parts of the skewers to keep them from burning.
Baste with the remaining oil after you turn the shrimp.
Serve the shrimp on the skewers with the Chipotle-Orange Sauce for dipping.
Ingredients for the Chipotle-Orange Cocktail Sauce
1 cup ketchup
1 tspn finely grated orange zest
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 to 2 cans chipotle chillies with adobo sauce, minced
2 tbsp finely diced white onion
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus 4 sprigs
Make the cocktail sauce. Place the ketchup, orange zest and juice, Worcestershire sauce, chipotles with adobo sauce, onion and chopped cilantro in a bowl and whisk to mix. Divide the cocktail sauce among four small bowls. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Place a cilantro sprig in the center of each just before serving.
Savor this Mexican-inspired Smoked Shrimp cocktail while reaping the benefits of this highly nutritious seafood, abundant in various essential nutrients and a superb source of lean protein.
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