When I went to Brazil I was on a mission to try as much Brazilian food and drink as I could. Unfortunately, I couldn’t try everything I wanted to because I didn’t have enough time. The diversity of foods in Brazil is so wide that I came back with a full list of what I wanted to try… one of the dishes I couldn’t try was the Piri Piri Shrimp. Piri-Piri pepper is from South Africa but the Piri-Piri sauce is Portuguese in origin and especially prevalent in Angola, Brazil, Mozambique and South Africa. Today, most hot sauces from Portugal are referred to as Piri- Piri. It is made from crushed chillies, citrus peel, onion, garlic, pepper, salt, lemon juice, bay leaves, paprika, pimento, basil, oregano, and tarragon. I know the signs when a dish is a keeper: while I’m eating I don’t think about a different kind of food, I just think DELICIOUS!! I ate this shrimp wrap mixed with this sauce and the lightness of the lemon zest …I felt like I was having one of the BEST meals I ever had in my life. Simply Amazing!! I found variations of this recipe online…this was a combination of Marcus Samuelsson’s Piri-Piri Shrimp and the LA Times version. I can’t emphasize enough how flavorful and light this sauce is. You could use it for chicken, fish…the possibilities are endless. The original recipe calls for bird’s eye chiles…these are hard to find so I did use the substitutes of jalapeños, red mexican chiles and serrano chiles…it turned out great. The addition of making a quick preserved meyer lemon peel really put this dish over the top. If you don’t have meyer lemons, use regular, organic lemons. We used Marcus Saumelsson’s suggestion of serving this as lettuce wraps, but as the LA Times suggested, you could serve the shrimp with rice as well. We found that using the lettuce was fresh, light and gave it a wonderful crispy addition.
Quick Preserved Meyer Lemon Peel:
6 Meyer lemons
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the lemons, trying to keep away from the white pith. (If necessary, scrape any pith away from the peels with a small knife.) Squeeze the juice from the peeled lemons into a bowl and reserve: You should have about 1 cup. Add water to bring the liquid up to 2 cups; set aside to reserve.
2. Place the peel and 2 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Drain. Repeat this procedure once more. Return the drained peel to the pan, add the reserved juice, salt and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Makes about three-eighths cup.
1 head bibb lettuce, cleaned and leaves separated
4 red jalapeño chiles, seeded, ribs removed and chopped
2 green jalapeño chiles, seeded, ribs removed and chopped
2 serrano chiles, seeded, ribs removed and chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus additional for garnish
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
Juice of 1 Meyer lemon
1 recipe quick-preserved Meyer lemon peel, julienned, divided (above)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound medium shrimp, tail-on, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Additional chopped cilantro for garnish
1. In a food processor, combine the chiles, garlic, cilantro, parsley, lemon juice and one-eighth cup of the preserved lemon peel and process until the mixture is a coarse paste. Add one-half cup olive oil in a slow stream and reserve. (Makes 1 cup.)
2. In a large bowl, toss the shrimp in the sauce and allow to marinate, covered and refrigerated, for 30 minutes.
3. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over high heat until it shimmers, then add the marinated shrimp. Toss for 3 to 4 minutes until the shrimp is opaque, taking care not to overcook. Season with kosher salt.
4. Serve the shrimp, inside lettuce leaves garnished with the remaining preserved lemon and a little chopped cilantro.
You can present this Shrimp with open leafs or you can wrap one along with extra sauce and lemon.
Beijos e Tchau!
Ludmilla and Marilyn Chudda