Mexican resort inspires a tasty shrimp dish

Diane Rossen Worthington
Tribune Content Agency

In my best-case scenario for celebrating an anniversary, I imagine an intimate seaside resort with lush landscaping, waterfalls and beach lounges that call out your name. A small stretch of beach might give the impression you are on your own private island. Warm breezes accent the mesmerizing ocean waves as you sip your favorite cocktail.

The good news is that I found all of this on a recent visit to the Viceroy Zihuatanejo. Elegant, adobe-inspired villas are nestled along one of Mexico’s premier beaches, Playa La Ropa. As the days ticked by, lulled into total relaxation mode, my husband and I deemed this spot our Mexican Heaven.

For me, of course, the food is as important as everything else. Chef Eduardo did not disappoint. Our breakfasts began with delicious blended juices promising good health. And one day was especially noteworthy. We visited the local fish market in the tiny town where the chef purchased various items that were the ingredients for an on-the-beach cooking class. We watched as the chef and his helper cooked up guacamole and freshly made corn tortilla chips, along with grilled local fish and vegetables. I asked him if he would share his delicious shrimp al tequila recipe and he happily obliged. And, even better, it is very simple. What’s the secret to this shrimp dish? Sour cream, tequila and a burst of freshly chopped cilantro become a light sauce.

When I tested this recipe, I discovered that jumbo shrimp in America are 20 to 26 pieces per pound, and depending on one’s appetite, this recipe can serve four or more. If you want giant shrimp, look for colossal shrimp that measure six to eight pieces per pound. Remember to weigh the shrimp after it has been peeled and deveined.

I like to serve this with rice that has been flavored with sauteed peppers and cilantro. If you are lucky enough to have any cold shrimp left over, arrange the shrimp and sauce on top of mixed greens that have been dressed with vinaigrette for a delicious lunch. What to drink? If you want to start with guac and chips, a margarita is just the thing. Otherwise, a chilled chardonnay would be a lovely complement.

Shrimp and Pepper Saute with Tequila and Sour Cream

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

6 scallions, white and light green part only, thinly sliced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and julienned

1 red pepper, seeded and julienned

2 cloves minced garlic

1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp (20 to 26 pieces per pound)

2 1/2 ounces aged tequila

2/3 cup sour cream

Salt and pepper

3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

Add 1 1/2 tablespoons oil to a large skillet on medium-high heat. Cook the scallions for 3 minutes, stirring once or twice or until nicely softened. Add the jalapeno and red pepper to the pan and saute for another 2 minutes, turning once, or until slightly softened and aromatic. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Transfer to a small side bowl.

Add remaining oil to the skillet on medium-high heat and saute the shrimp until pink on both sides and almost cooked through, turning once, about 2 to 3 minutes total time. Make sure any overhead fans are off, then add the tequila and ignite it with a long match, also making sure to avert your head. Remove from the heat until the flame has gone out completely.

Return the shrimp to medium heat, add the reserved peppers and sour cream, and cook on low until heated through, but not overcooked. Season with salt and pepper and add the cilantro; mix to blend well. Taste for seasoning. Serve immediately with your favorite rice. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 363 calories; 19 g fat (5 g saturated fat; 47 percent calories from fat); 7 g carbohydrates; 3 g sugar; 286 mg cholesterol; 1,264 mg sodium; 30 g protein; 1 g fiber.