Grilled Shrimp with Cocoa-Nib Romesco Sauce
- SERVINGS: 12
Red peppers, tomatoes, almonds and garlic form the base of romesco, a classic Spanish sauce from Catalonia. Here it's embellished with cocoa nibs, small pieces of husked roasted cocoa beans. They have all the earthy flavor of eating chocolate without the sweetness.
- 2 tablespoons tequila
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3 dozen large shrimp (about 2 pounds), shelled and deveined
- 1/4 cup almonds
- 1/4 cup hazelnuts
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup cocoa nibs (see Note) or grated unsweetened chocolate
- 1 medium tomatohalved, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 2 teaspoons masa harina or fine cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- In a large, shallow glass or ceramic dish, stir the tequila with the sugar. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Put the almonds and hazelnuts in separate pie plates and roast for 8 minutes, or until fragrant. Transfer the hot hazelnuts to a kitchen towel and rub together to remove the skins. Let cool, then coarsely chop the hazelnuts and almonds.
- Roast the pepper over a gas flame or under the broiler, turning, until charred all over. Transfer the pepper to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and steam for 5 minutes. Peel the pepper and discard the stem and seeds. Strain any accumulated juices into a bowl. Coarsely chop the pepper and transfer it to the bowl.
- In a food processor, combine the almonds, hazelnuts, roasted pepper, cocoa nibs, tomato, garlic, vinegar, masa harina, lemon juice, salt and crushed red pepper. Process to a fine paste. With the machine on, slowly add the olive oil to form a thick sauce. Scrape the romesco sauce into a bowl and season with salt.
- Light a grill. Season the shrimp with salt and grill over a hot fire for about 2 minutes per side, or until just cooked through. Serve the shrimp hot, with the romesco sauce alongside for dipping.
Cold beer is a perfect foil for the nutty romesco sauce. Try a Pale Ale.
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