Saturday Dinner/Al Dente On The Side: Lime-Cilantro Shrimp

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I add the slash in the title, because this could easily stand alone as its own dish. On Saturday, I needed something to go on the side of a steak. Potatoes? Meh. Rice? We were having it the next day at The In-Laws. So, shrimp it was.

If this were June or July or if I lived in San Diego, this would have been cooked over the open flame of a grill (and I would likely go for a pound or two of shrimp). Since it’s January in Syracuse, I went stovetop. Either way, the work is really done in advance here. The acid from the lime works its way into the meat of the shrimp, while the cilantro offers its telltale fragrance and flavor. The two ingredients are made for each other and they pair quite nicely with shrimp.

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The sugar is optional, but you want something to bind the ingredients together. A tablespoon of honey would likely have the same effect. And this recipe is completely scalable.

Lime-Cilantro Shrimp
By Jared Paventi

  • Juice from 2 limes
  • grated zest of one lime
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • handful of cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 pound medium (21-30 ct.) raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, rinsed and drained

Combine the lime juice and lime zest in a bowl. Add sugar (or honey) and cilantro leaves and whisk together until well combined. Add the shrimp and toss with a spoon. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and give it a quick shake to mix. Refrigerate for 45 minutes to 2 hours.

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Heat a nonstick skillet over high heat. Hold your hand over the pan. When it is too hot to keep your hand over it, you have reached the proper heat. Using a slotted spoon, add the shrimp to the pan. Spoon a little of the marinade into the pan and swirl around. Turn shrimp to cook evenly. Remove shrimp from heat when the are completely opaque and achieve a pink-orange color in the veins and tail, about 3 to 4 minutes total.

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