I've been getting the Epicurious Recipe Flash for several years, usually to my semi-disappointment. Not that the weekly email doesn't dish up appetizing-sounding recipes on a regular basis - it does. But the starkness of the email - just a list of recipes, without the mesmerizing articles that accompany recipes in Food & Wine or the whimsical prose of a Julia Child or Barefoot Contessa cookbook - makes me hold the recipes to a higher standard. I expect to find that Holy Grail of recipes: ones that are easy, sound delicious, and require mostly ingredients that I already have at home. I rarely do find it.
Until this week. Epicurious' Baked Shrimp in Chipotle Sauce (originally featured in Gourmet) was outrageously simple, had tons of flavor, and required only a very, very short shopping list. Unfortunately for the blog, it was so simple, I forgot to take pictures. But I can describe.
Cooper and I, after our marathon of big December celebratory nights, were looking forward to a quiet night in last night. This baked shrimp is perfect for a night in front of the TV, next to the fire, without a lot of distractions - and wearing your pajamas. It's a messy one.
Early in the day, I headed to Eddie's to pick up some vegetables for salad, a pound and a half of shrimp, canned chipotles in adobo sauce and some crusty bread. While I was there, I succumbed to the pull of the dessert counter, bringing home an almond and strawberry tart (fluffy, creamy, crispy almonds, perfect) and a thick, dense, small slice of chocolate cake. I can't help myself when faced with that many options.
Anyway, by the time Cooper got home from work, we were both exhausted. He made a fire (we're all about the fire these days, after receiving our last gas and electric bill. Who'd have thought that keeping your heat on 64 could cost so much.) I deveined the shrimp, but left the shells on. The recipe is ridiculously easy.
At the advice of an Epicurious commenter, I doubled the sauce the recipe recommends, so we'd have more to sop up with the bread. And that sauce couldn't be simpler - it just involves melting butter over medium heat and adding a few minced cloves of garlic, some minced chipotle chiles and a bit of adobo sauce, red wine and Worcestershire sauce. Once that's combined, I combined it and the shrimp in a casserole dish and baked at 400 for just over 10 minutes. I mean really, really easy.
While waiting for the shrimp to bake, we ate our salads (very colorful - just how I like them - but everything was so totally out of season I can't imagine where it came from. I mean - an orange tomato in Maryland in January? Not exactly seasonal.) Then it was time for the shrimp. We sat on the floor, bellied up to our coffee table, peeling the shrimp and dipping the bread, sauce literally running down our chins.
And the sauce was good. A whole stick of butter might sound excessive, but it wasn't. In fact, the sauce didn't taste particularly buttery at all - but it was smooth and velvety (though in a thin way). The dominant taste came from the chiles and adobo sauce, with the red wine and garlic providing a nice backdrop for the smoky heat.
We drank the wine I used in the sauce - a smooth but dry Bordeaux - and ate nearly a loaf of bread. We were a mess, but a happy, well-fed mess. Great comfort food, if you like comfort food that actually has flavor.
Highly, highly recommended.