Shrimp Pili Pili
- TOTAL TIME:
- SERVINGS: 4 first-course servings
Pili pili (bird's eye peppers) and cilantro are prominent seasonings in Kenyan cooking. Here, Hubert Des Marais uses both in a fiery spiced butter he brushes onto grilled shell-on shrimp; Thai chiles are an excellent substitute for pili pili. Use the largest shrimp you can find, though they probably won't measure up to the one-pounders he gets from the Indian Ocean. "They're monsters!" he exclaims.
- 1 1/4 pounds shell-on large shrimp
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 4 Thai chiles, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- 1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper (from about 1/4 pepper)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sweet smoked Spanish paprika
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- With kitchen shears, cut down the backs of each shrimp shell, keeping the shells intact. Remove the dark intestinal veins, then thread the shrimp onto 4 metal skewers.
- In a medium skillet, melt the butter. Add the Thai chiles, garlic, ginger, red bell pepper, ground cumin and smoked paprika and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a mini food processor, add the lime juice and puree. Stir in the cilantro and season the spiced butter with salt and pepper.
- Light a grill. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, both outside the shell and inside the cut-open back. Grill the shrimp over high heat, basting with the flavored butter and turning often, until just cooked through, about 2 1/2 minutes per side. Spread any remaining butter on the shrimp and serve right away.
Bright, lemon-scented Pinot Gris.