I have a pet peeve when I talk about the Caribbean.
The word is Car-rib-bee-an, not Ca-rib-bee-an. I’m from the Caribbean but I’ve never had this dish before. Despite its dubious provenance (about.com), I can say that it was not bad at all; unusually sweet, salty, spicy, tart, and sour–which surprises the mouth rather like the first time one eats Pad Thai. One thing I don’t understand is why a recipe calls for alcohol and then notes you can leave it out. Since I don’t drink, I don’t have alcohol on hand, so I was happy to leave it out.
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
1/2 cup orange juice concentrate
1/8 cup tequila, about half a mini-bottle (optional)
1 tablespoon Triple Sec or Cointreau orange liqueur, about half a mini-bottle (optional)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 cup minced sweet onion
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 to 1-1/2 pounds fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on for presentation if you wish
Measure 1/4 cup olive oil, lime juice, orange juice concentrate, tequila (if using), Triple Sec (if using), cilantro, garlic, sweet onion, curry powder, salt, turmeric, cumin, cayenne pepper, and black pepper into a large zip-top bag. Seal and squish contents to mix. Add shrimp to marinade, squeeze out all the air, and seal. Turn bag to coat shrimp. Refrigerate for 1 hour. (Do not over-marinate or the citrus acids will “cook” the shrimp.)
Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the hot pan and swirl to coat. Remove shrimp from marinade, reserving marinade, and place in a single layer in the hot pan. Cook for 1 minute, then flip the shrimp to the other side. Do not overcook the shrimp or it will become rubbery. Add the reserved marinade to the pan. Cook 1 minute, then remove shrimp and keep warm. Continue cooking the marinade until it reduces two-thirds to a thick sauce. Turn off the heat, return the shrimp to the pan, and toss in the sauce.
Cook’s note: If using medium shrimp (31 per pound), don’t cook for 2 minutes. Cook for 1 minute then remove from the pan. To cook all the shrimp at the same time, and to prevent overcooking, I turned off the heat while putting them in the pan. It’s important to work quickly so don’t be squeamish; stick your hand in the bag and grab a handful of shrimp and sprinkle them in the oil. That’s why it’s safer with the heat off.
Serve Caribbean Island Lime Shrimp over white rice. Another serving idea, and low calorie too, is to serve it with romaine lettuce leaves. This dish is also good as a room temperature appetizer for parties. I made this dish last night so other good accompaniments are roasted yams (American sweet potato–yam in the Caribbean is a different vegetable), and of course, the strawberry, spinach, hearts of palm salad.
Yield: 4 servings