The flavor of chipotle chile peppers is one of my favorite flavors – up there with garlic, cilantro, curry, pesto, and fish sauce.
Chipotle chile peppers are jalapeños which are dried and smoked. I don’t understand why they can’t be called smoked jalapeños, but no one asked my opinion. So chipotles they are.
You can purchase them whole and already ground. They also come in a can all plumped up in adobo sauce.
However you use chipotles, they add a unique, spicy smokiness to whatever food you’re preparing, whether you’re adding them to an enchilada sauce, seasoning flank steak, or spicing up a mayo.
Today I needed to make an appetizer with shrimp. I immediately thought of chipotle for seasoning – a fairly strong flavor that works with shrimp. Just for fun I also made a crema verde for a cool balance to the spicy shrimp.
Here’s what I did.
Chipotle Shrimp with Crema Verde
12 ounces crema or sour cream
2 ounces chopped green chiles
1 bunch cilantro, rinsed and dried
To make the crema verde, place the Crema and green chiles in a small food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.
Gradually add cilantro leaves, processing as you add them, until the whole bunch of cilantro has been incorporated into the Crema.
Cover and refrigerate overnight if you’re not going to use right away. However, serve at room temperature.
3/4 pound medium-size shrimp, cleaned
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 teaspoons ground chipotle chile pepper
Olive oil, as necessary
Make sure the cleaned shrimp are dry using paper towels. Place them in a large bowl and toss them gently in oil.
Add the chipotle, salt, and pepper. You can always season more after the shrimp are cooked.
Heat a little oil in a large, flat skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the shrimp in one layer, turning them over with tongs after only 1-2 minutes. The time will depend on the size of the shrimp. Typically they are done as soon as they turn from translucent to opaque and pink.
Cook the remaining batches and place the warm shrimp on a platter.
Sprinkle more chipotle powder, or even ground sweet paprika if desired and serve with the crema verde.
Besides being a fabulous and easy appetizer, the shrimp served over a layer of the crema verde, topped with a sprig of cilantro, would also be a wonderful first course to a southwestern-inspired meal.