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Author Notes: My wife and I stopped for dinner in the small town of Cuba, New Mexico on our way to Albuquerque from Chaco Canyon, and stumbled onto an unbelievable appetizer. This recipe takes its inspiration from the flavors in that dish, but has been built to serve as a stunning main dish, perfect for a dinner party. A simple combination of shrimp, piñon nuts (pine nuts) and chile powder, this dish can be an extraordinary experience. Save your very best chile powders for this recipe, as it offers a chance to truly showcase the complexities and richness of your finest spices. —Rogue Gourmet
- 2 pounds medium-large pink shrimp in shell, peeled and deveined
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
- ¾ to 1 cups medium hot New Mexico chile powder
- ½ cups extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups piñon nuts (pine nuts)
- ¼ cups honey
- 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- ½ cups coarse chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- Start by toasting your piñon nuts in a large dry pan over high heat. Keep the pan moving continuously, being sure not to let piñon nuts burn; holding pan several inches over heat and using a heavy bottomed pan to disperse heat will assist in this process. Work pan over heat, moving piñon nuts continuously for about 4 minutes or until nuts begin to turn a golden color.
- While keeping pan moving over heat add your minced garlic and shake pan vigorously to mix garlic and piñon nuts. piñon nuts contain a lot of oil, so adding oil at this point is unnecessary. Continue to work pan until garlic is sauteed and pine nuts have a reddish gold color, take care not to let nuts burn keeping pan off of direct heat by an inch or two.
- Add about 1/4 cup of olive oil and toss in to nuts and garlic well. Saute nuts and garlic an additional 45 seconds, allowing oil to warm.
- Add shrimp when olive oil has warmed to cooking temperature.
- Toss shrimp continuously to keep nuts and shrimp moving in pan.
- When shrimp are cooked through lower heat to medium low and add additional 1/4 cup olive oil. Stir in oil mixing well with piñon nuts and coating shrimp well
- Add chile powder in 3 steps dusting top of nuts and shrimp and mixing in, and repeating until powder has mixed well with shrimp and piñon nuts.
- Add honey, and cream and stir in to shrimp, nuts and olive oil. The chile powder should begin to clump and coat over shrimp
- Plate shrimp, sprinkle with kosher salt and garnish with cilantro