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Spicy Grilled Shrimp and Patatas Bravas

July 27, 2009
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Over the weekend the ice machine in the office above ours at work broke and flooded our office.  I came in this morning to find several floor fans blowing at high speed, creating tons of noise and heat, attempting to blow away the water (and the terrible mildew smell).  My boss was working from home today, and when we talked this morning he advised me that I, too, should work from home.  No complaints here….

So, after catching up on last night’s episode of “True Blood” (I love you, Surf the Channel), I set about finding sometime tasty to make for dinner tonight, preferably something grilled.  I bought a lot of raw frozen shrimp yesterday, so I decided upon grilled shrimp, potatoes and corn on the cob.  According to Mark Bittman, it’s best to buy raw frozen shrimp rather than thawed ones because the thawed shrimp were probably frozen already, so if you take them home and freeze them, they’re getting frozen and thawed more than the just-buy-em-frozen kind.

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In some ways I’m still used to cooking for one, and it’s been difficult to figure out how much food to make now that I’m cooking for both me and the boyf.  I consider it a victory if there are left overs.  It’s kind of sad, especially since I don’t even like left overs.  I know what you’re probably thinking: “Dude, if she doesn’t know how much food to make, why doesn’t she let him do the cooking?”  Oh, there’s a reason…. there is most definitely a reason.  The boyf and I have an agreement:  I cook and he does the dishes.  He’s actually really good at cooking, but I HATE doing the dishes.  Like I would rather-leave-them-for-several-days-than-wash-them-now hate doing them.  At any rate, his guidance to me was to decide how much food I wanted to make and then to double it.  And tonight that’s exactly what I did: I was standing in the kitchen peeling the shrimp  and when I thought I was done, I reached back into the freezer, pulled out the rest of the shrimp and defrosted and peeled them.

When I was in Peace Corps I ate more potatoes than any one person should ever eat.  My host mom would boil small, dirty potatoes and then she would put them on the table, and we would peel them with our fingers (yeouch) and eat nothing but boiled potatoes for dinner.  Needless to say, I don’t really like potatoes anymore.  I do, however, love patatas bravas, which was one of my favorite tapas to order when I lived in Spain.  When the boyf saw that we were having potatoes, he was like, “Holy shit, potatoes!  I can’t believe it.”  I’m glad we gave potatoes another try, because these were fantastic.

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Spicy Grilled Shrimp
(Adapted from The Food Network)

8 extra-large shrimp, peeled (I used about 1 lb of shrimp because unless you have lobster tail-sized shrimp, all the other ingredients seem far to0 much)
Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 15 to 30 minutes

Marinade:
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (1 cup for 8 shrimp???  Like I said, it seems a bit much)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (I didn’t use this since I didn’t want a ceviche)
4 sprigs fresh thyme (Didn’t have fresh, so I used dry)

4 cloves garlic, smashed

1 shallot, sliced thin 1

Spice Rub: (You will NOT use all this spice rub at once and you may not want to put it on both sides as it is quite potent and spicy.  It is quite nice, though, in moderation…)
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons mustard powder
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dry thyme
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano

Combine the ingredients for the marinade. Add the shrimp, cover, and chill for approximately 3 hours.

Meanwhile, combine the spice rub ingredients and set aside.

To cook: Remove the shrimp from the marinade, skewer onto bamboo skewers, and season with a pinch of the spice rub. Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat and grill the shrimp for 2 1/2 minutes on each side. Or you could fire up your grill to medium high, which is, in my opinion, the better option.

Grilled potatoes with spicy tomato aioli (patatas bravas)
(Adapted from The Food Network)

* 5 large red or yellow potatoes, scrubbed
* Salt
* 2 plum tomatoes
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1 cup prepared mayonnaise
* 3 cloves garlic, chopped
* 2 teaspoons Spanish paprika
* 2 teaspoons pureed chipotle in adobo
* 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Place the potatoes in a large pot of cold water, add 2 tablespoons of salt and cook until potatoes are tender, but still firm, about 12 to 15 minutes. Drain, let cool and cut each potato into 3/4-inch thick slices.

Heat the grill to high.

Brush the tomatoes with the some of the oil and season with salt and pepper. While the potatoes are cooking, place the tomatoes on the grill and grill until charred on all sides and soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from the grill when charred.

Place the tomatoes, mayonnaise, garlic, paprika and chipotle in a food processor and process until smooth, season with salt and pepper. Can be made 1 day in advance and refrigerated.

Brush the potato slices on both sides with some of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the potatoes on the grill, close the cover and grill until lightly golden brown and just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Carefully transfer the potatoes to a platter and garnish with the parsley. Serve the aioli drizzled over the potatoes or on the side.

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