Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Beer-Battered Shrimp with Honey-Chipotle Sauce

I recently purchased Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken's cookbook Cantina: The Best of Casual Mexican Cooking. It was originally published in 1996 and may either be out-of-print or at least not widely available, but I managed to find a copy through a 3rd party seller on Amazon. I've been a fan of these two ladies ever since their first TV stint back in the '90s on Food Network as the "Too Hot Tamales." One of their appetizers in Cantina is a beer-battered shrimp with a chipotle-honey dipping sauce, which I've adapted here. The beer batter is essentially the same, but for the sauce I substituted the dry chipotles with canned chipotles and adjusted the other ingredients to suit my own taste. I served the shrimp with two sauces on the side: the honey-chipotle and also my own lime & cilantro tartar sauce. Home made cocktail sauce would also pair well. Simple, crispy, flavorful, and so addictively good!

2 lbs. medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels

1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup beer (I like to use Newcastle Brown Ale)

1 1/2 cups flour for dusting
Vegetable oil for frying

2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
2 canned chipotle chiles, chopped
1 large tomato, diced
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup water
2 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
2-3 tbsp. honey

1. For the batter: Combine all the batter ingredients into a bowl and mix until combined. Add the beer and whisk until smooth. Set aside at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours. 

2. For the sauce: Heat 2 tsp. of olive oil in a sauté pan. Add the chopped red onion and garlic and sauté until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add all the other sauce ingredients except the red wine vinegar and honey and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer. Let cook about 15 minutes or until the tomatoes have softened and the mixture has thickened. Let cool a bit, then pour into a blender/processor and blend until just smooth. Pour into a bowl and stir in the vinegar and honey. Set aside. 

3. For the shrimp: Pour about 3" of vegetable oil in a skillet and heat until about 350F (hot but not smoking hot). Place 1 1/2 cups of flour in a shallow bowl and toss in the shrimp to coat. Add the shrimp to the batter bowl (shake off any excess flour from each shrimp before adding to the batter) and stir to combine. Batter is thick, so get your hands in there to make sure all the shrimp are covered.

4. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, add the shrimp in 2 batches (do not overcrowd) in the hot oil. Fry until lightly golden and crisp, about 2-3 minutes. Drain the shrimp on a paper towel-lined platter. 

5. Serve with the Honey-Chipotle sauce on the side. But, hey, if you really want to wow, serve this with a plethora of other dipping sauces, e.g., Lime and Cilantro Tartar sauce http://thegrubfiles.blogspot.com/2012/07/fish-chips.html and/or fresh Cocktail sauce http://thegrubfiles.blogspot.com/2012/12/panko-fried-sea-scallops-with-cilantro.html

Combine all dry batter ingredients together in a bowl, then add beer.

Whisk until well combine. Set aside at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to 4 hours.  

For the sauce: canned chipotle chiles, diced red onion, garlic and tomato.  

Canned chipotles (smoked jalapeños) in adobo sauce, baking powder, Newcastle Brown Ale, kosher salt, and cayenne pepper. 

 For the sauce, sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil about 2 minutes or until translucent. 

Add the remaining sauce ingredients except the red wine vinegar and honey. 

Simmer about 15 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and the sauce thickened.  

Let the sauce ingredients cool a bit and then blend smooth in a blender or processor.  

Remove sauce to a bowl and stir in the vinegar and honey. 

Toss the shrimp in flour.  

Shake off excess flour from shrimp and stir into the batter.  

Deep fry the shrimp in 2 batches for 2-3 minutes or until crisp and golden.  

Drain shrimp on paper towels.  

Serve with the Honey-Chipotle sauce and/or tartar, cocktail sauces on the side. 

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