Hi guys! I’m back for a sec, with a window in this crazy life of mine in which we chose to uproot our Arizona life and take it back to Kansas after a 31-year absence! I know I’ve not been as regular with sharing food, thoughts, and stuff. But I am squeezing this in and hope you love it. The update is that we have closing dates on the sale of our house in Phoenix and on the purchase of our house in Kansas. I am so excited, I can barely sleep. So, I had to cook. And it was just in time because I miss you and I miss sharing. I hope you have patience with me and stick around until I get my stuff back together.
I’m on a Portuguese party food kinda mood lately. After all, it is party season and my heritage is Brazilian (therefore Portuguese…one of my maternal great grandfathers was from Ilha da Madeira). So, tying all that together with a shrimp piri piri seemed like a no-brainer. Except that shrimp piri piri is African, not Portuguese. But it is VERY popular in Portugal. Are you confused yet?
OK, forget where it originated or where it is popular. Just focus on the fact that this fiery little bit of seafood yumminess rocks! And by “fiery”, I mean, it is spicy. Kinda, sorta REALLY spicy. All right. It’s only mildly, delightfully spicy if you don’t add more piri piri sauce to each wrap. So, for those of you out there who can’t handle the heat, that’s your hint to back off the extra sauce. In my house, that’s not too many of us.
let’s make shrimp piri piri
Like some of the recipes I have shared, this one is adapted from a Whole Foods Market Culinary Academy session. But I have learned since that the Culinary Academy had adapted it from a Marcus Samuelsson recipe. Suffice it to say, I did not make it up myself, but that was pretty apparent from the whole Africa/Portugal discussion.
The Marcus Samuelsson recipe calls for bird’s eye chilies. Those are not only REALLY hot, but kinda difficult to find. I struck out in my local Asian market, so I went with Thai chilies. Those are pretty warm too.
This recipe is so quick and easy, we are going to fly through it today!
Start by removing the ribs and seeds from the chilies. Trust me, they are warm enough without them. However, if you like five-alarm mouth experiences, by all means! Keep them!
Then put all of the piri piri sauce ingredients in a food processor (except the olive oil) and blend until smooth. Then slowly drizzle in the olive oil until it looks like this.
Pour 1/2 cup of the piri piri sauce over the shrimp. Toss and marinade in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or so.
Then heat up a skillet with olive oil and cook the marinated shrimp until opaque on both sides. About 2 minutes per side. Sprinkle and toss in some salt after they cook.
Then set out on your party platter with some bib lettuce leaves, lime quarters, and the remaining piri piri sauce. That will set things up so your guests can make their own little wraps. They can be assembled by either drizzling a bit of the remaining piri piri sauce on the lettuce leaf and then placing a shrimp on top and wrapping in the leaf. Or just add a shrimp to a lettuce leaf and squeeze some fresh lime juice on top before wrapping.
Once the shrimp is cooked, it is not so very spicy hot. But adding additional piri piri sauce to the wrap will increase the spice quotient quite a bit. So, warn your guests accordingly.
I have yet to attend a party where there isn’t a representative person or group that lives for hot and spicy food. Trust me, if you serve shrimp piri piri, those people will love you forever. And, as I stated before, for those who aren’t really into super spicy, avoiding extra sauce is all you need to do to enjoy this amazing treat without feeling the burn.
I wish all of you the best in this holiday and party season. Consider some shrimp piri piri on your holiday party table.
- FOR THE PIRI PIRI SAUCE
- 8 red chilies (bird's eye or Thai) seeds and ribs removed
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ cup olive oil
- FOR THE SHRIMP
- 24 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
- ½ cup piri piri sauce, plus more for serving
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lime, quartered
- 24 bib lettuce leaves
- To make the piri piri sauce, combine the chilies, lemon juice, cilantro, parsley, and garlic in a food processor and puree until smooth. With the blade running, add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream and blend until well-combined.
- Toss the shrimp with ½ cup of the piri piri sauce and refrigerate for 20 minutes or so.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until the shrimp is opaque throughout.
- Sprinkle the shrimp with salt to taste and toss in the pan.
- Serve with lettuce leave, lime quarters, and the remaining piri piri sauce.
- Each shrimp should be wrapped in a leaf with piri piri or a squirt of lime juice.