Wine Wednesday: Treats with a Spanish Flare – Puerto Rico

How many of you have read “Eat, Pray, Love”?  I’m sure a bunch of you. Well, it seems that this summer I’ve been doing a bit of that myself.  You know that I love writing this Wednesday column – it’s truly my favorite, simply because I love good food.  There’s nothing worse than bad food or worse drink.  So I want to share with you a few of my favorite recipes Spanish influenced from my trip to Puerto Rico.  It’s been an amazing experience and what’s more, the food was rock-your-socks!

Chile Rubbed shrimp with Avocado Salsa

16 jumbo shrimp (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and deveined

1 tablespoon ancho chile powder

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preparation:

1. Rinse the shrimp under cold running water, then blot them dry with paper towels.

2. Place the chile powder, garlic salt, coriander, oregano, cumin, and pepper in a mixing bowl and whisk to mix. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Stir in the olive oil. Let the shrimp marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

3. Cook the shrimp, following the instructions below for any of the grills, until just cooked through. When done the shrimp will turn pinkish white and will feel firm to the touch.

4. Spoon the Avocado and Corn Salsa into 4 large martini glasses or serving bowls. Drape 4 of the hot shrimp over the edge of each glass or bowl and serve at once. Or for a cold shrimp cocktail, let the cooked shrimp cool to room temperature. Refrigerate the shrimp, covered, until they are chilled before serving them with the salsa. The cooked shrimp can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

CONTACT GRILL:
Preheat the grill; if your contact grill has a temperature control, preheat the grill to high. Place the drip pan under the front of the grill. When ready to cook, lightly oil the grill surface. Place the marinated shrimp on the hot grill, then close the lid. The shrimp will be done after cooking 1 to 3 minutes.

GRILL PAN:
Place the grill pan on the stove and preheat it to high over medium heat. When the grill pan is hot a drop of water will skitter in the pan. When ready to cook, lightly oil the ridges of the grill pan. Place the marinated shrimp in the hot grill pan. They will be done after cooking 1 to 3 minutes per side.

BUILT-IN GRILL:
Preheat the grill to high, then, if it does not have a nonstick surface, brush and oil the grill grate. Place the marinated shrimp on the hot grate. They will be done after cooking 1 to 3 minutes per side.

FREESTANDING GRILL:
Preheat the grill to high; there’s no need to oil the grate. Place the marinated shrimp on the hot grill. They will be done after cooking 2 to 4 minutes per side.

FIREPLACE GRILL:
Rake red hot embers under the gridiron and preheat it for 3 to 5 minutes; you want a hot, 2 to 3 Mississippi fire. When ready to cook, brush and oil the gridiron. Place the marinated shrimp on the hot grate. They will be done after cooking 1 to 3 minutes per side.

TIPS:

•The traditional way to devein shrimp is to make a V-shaped cut that runs the length of the back. The advantage of this method is that the shrimp opens up like a butterfly as it grills. A quicker way to devein is to insert the tine of a fork in the back of a shrimp about 1/4 inch deep to snag the vein, then slowly and gently pull it out.

•For a striking presentation, spoon the salsa into oversize martini glasses and drape the shrimp over the side of the glass.

Avocado & Corn Salsa

1 ripe avocado, cut into 1/4-inch dice

2 to 3 tablespoons fresh limejuice

1 ripe red tomato, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 ear sweet corn, shucked

1 scallion, both white and green parts, trimmed and finely chopped, or 3 tablespoons diced sweet onion

1 to 2 jalapeño peppers or serrano peppers, seeded and minced (for a hotter salsa, leave the seeds in)

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

1. Place the avocado in the bottom of a nonreactive mixing bowl and gently toss it with 2 tablespoons of the lime juice. Spoon the tomato on top of the avocado.

2. Cut the kernels off the corn. The easiest way to do this is to lay the cob flat on a cutting board and remove the kernels using lengthwise strokes of a chef’s knife. Add the corn kernels to the mixing bowl. The salsa can be prepared to this stage up to 2 hours ahead. Refrigerate it, covered.

3. Just before serving, add the jalapeño(s) and cilantro to the mixing bowl and gently toss to mix. Taste for seasoning, adding more lime juice as necessary and season with salt and pepper to taste; the salsa should be highly seasoned.

Of course nothing this summer would be complete without a little liquid libation…

The Sweet Tart

1 ½ oz Gin

1 oz St. Germain

1 oz limejuice

1 oz lemon juice

1 ½ oz Cranberry juice

Raspberries for garnish

Simply combine all in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  Strain into cocktail glass.  Garnish and enjoy.

 

Venus Love Potion

2 oz raspberries, muddled

3 oz Vodka

½ oz simple syrup

½ oz lemon juice

Combine all in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  Strain into cocktail glass. Enjoy.

Strawberry-Lemon Mojitos

8 lemon wedges

8 ounces gold or aged rum

2 ounces prepared sugarcane syrup or agave nectar

3 ounces fresh lemon juice

Ice cubes, plus crushed ice

24 mint leaves, plus 4 mint sprigs, for garnish (optional)

4 strawberries, plus 2 halved strawberries, for garnish

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the lemon wedges with the whole strawberries and mint leaves. Add ice and the rum, lemon juice and sugarcane syrup; shake well. Strain into crushed ice–filled highball glasses. Garnish with the berry halves and mint sprigs.

 

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