Do you have plans for Memorial Day weekend?
Here in San Diego, gloomy skies had taken over the city, but now our sunny, 70 degree weather seems to have returned just in time for the weekend. In America's Finest City, that means everyone will be celebrating the long weekend with beach parties and barbecues. If you live in an area of the country where it is not quite summer yet, maybe I can help you kick off the season by sending some sunshine your way... along with a great recipe for grilled Chili Lime Marinated Shrimp. And guess what? Even if rain ruins your Memorial Day picnic, you can go ahead and bring the sunshine inside because this recipe is just as good made in a saute pan as it is on the grill.
Dried Ancho chili peppers.
Some meats or seafood seem to be made for the grill - for instance, a thick seasoned ribeye or a gorgeous swordfish steak just don't seem the same when they lose that dark char - but other things are just as good off the grill as they are on it. In my humble opinion, shrimp are one of those great grill-to-stovetop transitional foods. When threaded on skewers and grilled, marinated large shrimp cook quickly and they get a really lovely smoky flavor; they don't dry out and they are the perfect compliment to cool summer salads. However, marinated shrimp also cook beautifully over high heat in a saute pan, and they can sometimes be even more juicy than when they are cooked on a grill.
For this recipe, I marinated my shrimp with a classic combination of chiles, lime, and garlic (and of course, cilantro), and the results were fantastic. For the heat and spicy flavor, I used Ancho chiles plus everyday red pepper flakes, and it worked extremely well. If you have not used Ancho chiles before, they are extremely common in Mexican cooking and can be found in most grocery chains here in Southern California (check your local grocer). Anchos are often used in cooked dishes, but I wanted to try them out in a marinade instead of fresh chiles - that way, I would be able to make my marinade at any time using only ingredients from my pantry plus refrigerator staples.
Rehydrate dried chilis by soaking them in boiling water for 15 minutes.