well, me & my buddy rick bayless are at it again, this time with camarones adobados..
this week: [grilled camarones adobados: mexican marinated shrimp]
adapted from: authentic mexican by rick bayless
here in america, anything we order with the term en adobo or adobado is usually some variation of a red chile sauce/marinade, so most of us have come to associate it with that & take those dishes as the definition of adobo. however, as i learned, those terms are just the general words for marinade/marinated, not for a specific recipe. who knew?
i have never made a traditional mexican adobo recipe before, so i did not know what exactly to expect. rick gives a basic recipe for a red chile adobo, similar to what we might expect- dried red chiles, garlic, & a whole bunch of spices. i used it not so much as a recipe, but as the 3 basic parts of the template; using that knowledge, i filled them in as i chose, experimenting with the types of chiles, amount of garlic, types of spices, etc.
another area where i tend to deviate from recipes is the cooking method. ricks calls for broiling the shrimp. obviously, as a weber product owner, i ignored that part & grilled the shrimp, & you should too. no grill? okay, fine- STILL do not broil it, go buy a grill 🙂
the adobo turned out absolutely fantastic, really simple to make & so delicious. plus, i had plenty left over, even after using enough for the 6 POUNDS OF SHRIMP i grilled. 6 pounds? yep. i try to have seafood on the menu at least a few times every other week, but i have been completely slacking with it lately [possibly due to the abundance of smoked chuck roast around?] so this week, it is all about that SHRIMP! yes please, i love shrimp, & it was on sale this week. now, if you have ever grilled shrimp, you know that anyone who plans to grill 6 pounds of shrimp better have a freaking sous chef or assistant or slave to peel & skewer all of it, because it is going to take approximately 1.4 eternities.
yeah, totally do not have either of those. so as i was trying to figure out how to minimize my misery level, this led to curiosity about some stainless steel grilling trays i have seen in the past, usually used for vegetables. i looked online, & of course weber makes a couple options. so, after i endured the first half of the 1.4 eternities peeling the shrimp, i went over to home depot & picked one up. so, not only are you getting the grilling experience today, this is also going to be a super professional review of the weber grill pan. lucky you.
FOR THE ADOBO:
1. obtain 2 bags of dried chiles & some garlic cloves.
the combination of the chiles chosen will determine the taste of the adobo, i actually used all ancho, as that is what i had around & i like ancho a lot.
2. cut the stems off the chiles & dump the seeds out too.
i do this over the sink into the garbage disposal, makes it easier.
3. toast the chiles & garlic.
rick calls for 8 cloves, i used 12, & did not find it extremely garlicky or anything, for a point of reference.
heat up a dry pan or griddle & throw everything on there. the chiles will take a couple minutes on either side, until they are dark/slightly blackened & smell amazing. the garlic will take 15-20 minutes if you want to do it entirely in the pan. otherwise, do what i did: toast it in the pan for 5 minutes while you are still using it for the chiles. it will get the black spots & the toasty flavor you want, then microwave it the rest of the way, until it is very soft, 2-3 minutes approximately.
4. soak the chiles in boiling water.
while everything is toasting, heat a pan of boiling water. after the chiles toast, you toss them in there & soak them for 15-30 minutes. they have to be real soft so they can be pureed.
this is also a prime time to work on peeling your vast quantities of shrimp. or your normal amount, whatever.
5. throw it all in the blender with some spices.
now, all you need to do is pick a few spices & sprinkle them into the blender, along with your chiles, garlic, 0.5 cup apple cider vinegar & 3 T water. it will be thick, but be very cautious about adding more water, as it will dilute the flavor. traditional spice options: cinnamon, bay leaves, cumin, oregano, & salt & pepper of course.
MARINATE & GRILL.
throw the shrimp in the marinade & let it sit for several hours. i did about 8, but less is definitely fine, especially with how small shrimp are. the recipe for the adobo made around 250g, & i only needed 75g to generously cover 6 pounds of shrimp, so there is definitely plenty left over. i love having sauces & marinades on deck in the fridge.
after i took the shrimp out of the marinade, i tossed it on my new grill pan. my main hang up with the grill pan is concern over the flavor being negatively affected, since the shrimp will not be directly on the grates. although, the pan has little vents all through out the bottom of it. of course, being me, i had to perform a little experiment to judge the grill pan. so, i decided to grill a couple of skewers of shrimp as well, alongside the pan. this would allow for a side by side comparison afterwards.
when i lit my charcoal, i actually used a mix of pure lump briquettes & regular lump charcoal. i just discovered the lump briquettes recently, so i am trying to finish off the rest of my regular lump charcoal. since the regular lump would burn hotter & faster than the lump briquettes, i put the briquettes on the bottom of the chimney.
i only barely filled the chimney, seeing as the shrimp was the only item to be grilled, & they do not require much in the way of heat. plus, i was not even grilling them directly on the grates, so no need to be concerned with quick sears or anything.
CAMARONES ADOBADOS LOOKING LOVELY ON THE BRAND NEW GRILL PAN:
nothing left now except to put the lid on & let the shrimp cook, just about 7-10 minutes depending on the heat level. it is so hands off & easy, i literally did not know what to do with myself.
after about 9 minutes the first batch was done. so, i took a spatula & scooped the cooked ones into a bowl & refilled the pan with the other half from the marinade. another 10 minutes & that was all she wrote! it was honestly so quick & so low effort due to the grill pan.
total time [getting out the charcoal — closing up the grill] = 65 minutes.
also, keep in mind the quantity of shrimp i had. it will be even less time for you if you do not choose to grill six pounds, though that just seems silly to me. i am thinking you probably could even get away without preheating it for 10 minutes after dumping the coals, if you were really in a rush, since nothing is actually being cooked on the grates.
total yield [ shell on shrimp — cooked] = 65.8%
WEBER GRILL PAN REVIEW
- purpose: it performed exactly as intended, & served its purpose. i bought it because i did not want to spend 95 hours skewering & grilling shrimp, & this definitely saved me from that.
- value: at $20, i find it to be very reasonable. you can fit a lot on it, & i am sure it is going to last me as long as the grill.
- ease of use: honestly could not be easier. plus, i figured it was going to be a BITCH to clean, but i was able to scrub it with only minimal effort, even with something as saucy as the mexican marinated shrimp recipe.
- WOULD I BUY IT AGAIN: yes! definitely.
GRILL PAN SHRIMP VS. SKEWERED SHRIMP
i am not putting this with the review, since this is not the marketed use for the pan. i went off label.
i was expecting to prefer the skewered shrimp, in terms of taste & flavor, but in all honesty, i really could not tell the difference. i attribute this to the fact that the shrimp are so small & quick cooking that they hardly spend any time on the grates as it is, even less than the ones on the pan, so cooking them on the pan did not have much of an effect on the taste.
knowing that the grill flavor is not compromised, i see absolutely no reason not to use this for shrimp in the future, especially large quantities. seems like a win all around!
have any of you guys used the weber grill pan? what do you think of it?