Growing up, I religiously watched the Food Network. I loved watching chefs whip up new dishes and teach me different recipes. Nowadays, it's the complete opposite because I almost never watch cooking shows. If I want to watch a show about food, it has to be extremely entertaining. My latest indulgence has been the Netflix show, "The Chef" with Roy Favreau and Roy Choi. It's great to see two genuine people get together to eat, cook and just be themselves. In one episode, the members visit The Optimist in Atlanta, where Chef Ford Fry prepares a shrimp appetizer dish. My mouth was salivating as I watched him fire up shrimp with a chile jam. In an attempt to recreate the dish, here is my interpretation with coconut chile lime shrimp served with sourdough. It may not be the same appetizer but let me tell you, it is delicious.
Coconut Chile Lime Shrimp
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 oz dried Anaheim chile
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 chipotle pepper canned in adobo sauce
- 2 tablespoon adobo sauce
- ¼ cup butter divided
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- ½ medium red onion chopped
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb shrimp head and tail on, skin on
- salt and pepper
- juice of ½ lime
- 2 tablespoon cilantro chopped
- 2 tablespoon parsley chopped
- crusty sourdough bread
- Prepare the chile sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the Anaheim chile and lightly toast on both sides, making sure not to burn the skin. Remove from heat, place the chilies in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let the chilies sit for 30 minutes, rotating them occasionally. Remove the seeds and stems from the chilies and blend them with the chipotle, adobo sauce, and 2 cups chile water until smooth.
- Melt 2 tablespoon butter in a saucepot over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and saute until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add the chilies, sugar, red wine vinegar, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and continue to simmer for 12-15 minutes or until reduced by ½. Add 2 tablespoon butter and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saute pan. Sear the shrimp until pink on both sides but not cooked through. Add the shrimp to the coconut chile lime sauce and simmer for 2 minutes or until the shrimp are cooked through. Gently pressing down on the heads to release the juices.
- Transfer the shrimp to a platter and finish with a squeeze of lime juice, cilantro, and parsley. Serve with crusty bread.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
There are several key elements of this coconut chile lime shrimp that make it a star. The first is the Anaheim chile sauce. To make the sauce, lightly toast the dried Anaheim chile and rehydrate the chilies in hot water for at least 30 minutes. Once softened, drain the chilies, reserving the water. Take off the stem and remove the seeds and blend up those chilies with the reserved water and canned chipotle with the adobo sauce. If you are feeling extra spicy, add more chipotle.
Finish the sauce by simmering it with sauteed garlic, onion, sugar, red wine vinegar, and coconut milk. Simmer the sauce until it's reduced by about half, stirring occasionally. Add the butter, giving a little richness to the sauce, and season with salt and pepper.
The second key element that makes the coconut chile lime shrimp so great is the shrimp! Make sure to purchase head-on, tail-on, skin-on jumbo shrimp. Don't get freaked out by the shrimp head - that's where a lot of the flavor is!
In the show, Chef Ford cooks the shrimp in a pizza oven. I'm not fancy enough to have a pizza oven, so I'm going to use the stove-top instead. Sear the shrimp in a hot pan until pink on the outside. You don't have to cook the shrimp all the way since it will simmer in the sauce later on.
When the sauce is ready, add the shrimp and let it simmer for a few minutes, allowing it to absorb all those wonderful flavors. Give it a final seasoning with salt and pepper and finish with a squeeze of lime and fresh herbs.
Serve the coconut chile lime shrimp with the crusty bread and dig in. This is a get-your-hands-dirty type of dish but, on the plus side, you get to suck all that sauce off your fingers at the end, so it's a win-win. A beautiful dish all around.
For more shrimp inspiration, check out this mango bbq shrimp skewers!