Bright citrus, packed with heat, quickly charred.
Spicy Grilled Shrimp Perfection
There’s something so magical about these spicy grilled shrimp in adobo. Is it the glowing red colors of the sauce? Once you’ve cooked these you’ll realize it’s actually the smells: The fresh citrus and burst of spicy chiles, wafting towards you with wood-fired warmth for just a few moments. These shrimp cook quickly, enjoy those moments.
How Do I Get that Glow?
It’s hard to scroll through the recipes and pass by the glowing red shrimp. The secret is really not-so-secret, it’s the same technique that I use for my glowing Pollo Asado Rojo Wings: achiote paste.
That fruity paste of chiles, seeds and herbs happens to have a bold pigment that passes on to the food. The annatto seeds are packed with a natural red pigment, used in many types of foods globally. Let’s just take advantage of it for our delicious, spicy grilled shrimp in adobo!
You can pick it up on Amazon, most brands are very similar:
Making the Adobo Marinade
So you’ve got the chiles, and achiote paste, the citrus and spices. Now what?
There’s a few steps, and I do recommend making the adobo marinade ahead of time. The sauce needs to cool (can’t pour that on hot shrimp) and the flavors also develop more with a little time.
Hydrating the chiles: If you haven’t tackled this before, it’s incredibly easy. Toast the chiles on low until you can smell them, and take them off the heat and pour boiling water. They are ready to go after about 10 minutes.
Blending, and cooking: The rest of the ingredients can be tossed together in a blender, along with the hydrated chiles, and pureed perfectly smooth. Once you have your velvety sauce you’ll toss it in a pan and cook it down for a few minutes to enhance the flavors and bring it all together.
Cool and wait: You can make this sauce a few hours ahead of time, or the day before if you’d like. Shrimp do not need long to marinade (30-45 minutes) which helps you get them onto your plate much sooner.
How Should I Eat This?
I recommend buying sweeter shrimp, like Argentinian Red Shrimp. Omaha Steaks carries them, and they are so buttery sweet like little lobsters. These huge shrimp also cook in almost half of the time as normal shrimp. If patience is a problem for you, then you’re all set.
Serving tough, rubbery shrimp will be such a disappointment! Did you know you can cook them to temperature, just like a steak? I recommend 120°F. I use a Dash or the ThermoPop from Thermoworks. The thinner probe makes sure you’re not destroying the shrimp.
Shrimp never last long enough in my house. I’d recommend pairing it with anything that involves Mexican flavors you are familiar with. We like to gently stuff the spicy grilled shrimp in adobo in burritos with rice, black beans, crema, and cilantro. Don’t forget that lime!