Mexican-Style Garlic Shrimp

Shrimp is one of the most delicious protein delivery vehicles around, but it's so prone to overcooking. This recipe from KCET show Cook's Country solves the problem with two methods: don't leave the shrimp in the pan too long, and don't drown them in oil. Cooking the garlic first yields two products, garlic oil and garlic paste, both of which are used in the recipe. So feel free to set the table with toothbrushes. Enjoy!

Photo courtesy Cook's Country
Photo courtesy Cook's Country

Mexican-Style Garlic Shrimp
Serves 4
16 garlic cloves, peeled and halved, plus 4 cloves, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 pounds extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined (Buy extra-large shrimp -- 21 to 25 per pound)
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest from 2 limes
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice from 2 limes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 jalapeño chiles, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Heat halved garlic cloves and oil in small saucepan over medium-high heat until bubbles begin to form. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is softened, 12 to 15 minutes. Strain garlic, reserving oil. Use side of chef's knife to mash garlic into fine paste. (Garlic paste and oil can be refrigerated separately for up to 1 day.)

Pat shrimp dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat reserved garlic oil in large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Cook shrimp, covered, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer shrimp to plate and tent with foil.

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Reduce heat to medium-low. Add lime juice to empty skillet and whisk in butter and garlic paste until smooth. Add cooked shrimp, minced garlic, lime zest, jalapeños, and cilantro to pan and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

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