Lime Cilantro Shrimp

Lime Cilantro Shrimp

Cilantro is one of those things that some people love and some people hate. I’m a cilantro lover, no doubt about that, and these Lime Cilantro Shrimp are one of many reasons for that. The dish is fast to make — you can have a fresh dinner on the table in just a few minutes.

The preparation of the shrimp and the sauce is as simple as it can get. The shrimp is just sauteed in butter (or oil if you prefer) and the sauce is fresh lime juice and a whole mess of cilantro. That’s it. Nothing more complicated than that, but the shrimp is a dynamite main dish or perhaps a nice appetizer. And while the dish is simple, it’s also full of flavor and very satisfying. 

(FYI Folks, I took a small vacation last week, but we’ll be back at it at least until Labor Day.)

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Salmon with Honey, Lime and Cilantro

Salmon with Honey, Lime and Cilantro

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a good salmon here, so I thought this might be a nice way to get back to what is one of my favorite ideas — something nice and fresh with just a very little work. And this Salmon with Honey, Lime and Cilantro is right on the money for that.

This piece is something I try very hard not to do — take someone else’s blog post (in this case, several)  — and essentially try to make it just a bit better. The truth, however, is that this one just hit my fancy and I knew pretty much what I wanted to do to increase the flavor without ruining the underlying taste. So I did, and the salmon turned out to be very good indeed.

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Red Snapper with Cilantro, Garlic, and Lime

red snapper with cilantro

Once in a while, there is nothing quite like a really fresh red snapper. You almost never want to do too much to it — in part because it can quickly mess up a really good fish dish and in part, because you honestly don’t want to play around too much with something that can be so very special as a good red snapper. I’ll often play around with cod or something similar, but I want a good ocean fish — like a red snapper — to smell and taste like it came right from the sea.

This recipe, which actually came in part from a Gourmet magazine, uses almost nothing to make it stand out. The fish is cooked with just a little salt and pepper. The rest of the recipe involves making a Southeast Asian kind of gremolata that uses cilantro, garlic and lime rather than the traditional parsley and lemon. Just that little change in the gremolata makes all the difference and turn the fish into a soaring triumph.

And best of all, when you walk in the door, the main dish can be on the table in about 20 minutes, start to finish.

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Sopa de Lima (Mayan Chicken Lime Soup)

Sopa de Lima

The story of this soup goes back a few decades to my first trip to Cancun, Mexico, about three decades ago. One evening we decided to leave the resort strip — much of which was still being built at that time, and head into the city/town, which was much smaller than it is today — to eat at a local out of the way place where we hoped to find some inexpensive authentic food. We found a place and had a very interest dinner of real Mayan food and the whole tab came to about $7, including a round of very good margaritas. Even today that would be about $20. Amazing. The star of that dinner was Sopa de Lima. I’ve thought about it many times since then and recently got the bug to try my hand at it. I went through several iterations that were not quite right (including a number of variations from top cooking sites that, while good in their own right were not what I recalled), and finally hit on the recipe below, which is as close as I’m likely to get without an ingredient shopping trip to the Yucatan.

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Tequila Lime Chicken Wings

Tequila Lime Chicken Wings

Good old Buffalo Wings are one of my favorite things, but now and then I also like wings that are nice and sweet, with just a hint of heat and these tequila lime chicken wings fit that bill perfectly. They’re also easy to make and much of the recipe can be made ahead of time, which is great if you’re serving them for say, a game-day snack or even a tailgaiting session (assuming you have a grill or other source of heat).

The idea behind these wings is simple. Bake the wings until they’re crispy then toss them over heat with a sticky sauce that coats them with flavor. Both the cooked wings and the sauce can be refrigerated for a day or two. When you’re ready, let both come to room temp and then toss the wings and sauce over heat and serve. Shouldn’t take more than 10-15 minutes once the pan is hot.

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Shrimp with Sriracha Lime Dip

Shrimp with Sriracha Lime Dip

I’m always on the lookout for interesting small plates I can make for a special lunch or as a first course for a more elaborate dinner. Shrimp are always a good bet for that. I actually devised this Shrimp with Sriracha Lime Dip in response to the need for a small light dinner entrée, but I think it actually would work better as lunch or an appetizer, so I’ll offer it up here in that capacity. If you use about a pound of shrimp, it will make four nice portions easily.

The shrimp themselves are straight forward. Use your favorite marinade or your favorite rub to make a marinade, and after half an hour or so in that, give them a quick sauté in some butter or olive oil. For this version, I used Mangia’s Shrimp Mojo, which for me has the perfect balance of flavor and heat. I didn’t want the shrimp themselves to be too spicy. The real bang comes from the dipping sauce.

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Grilled Grouper with Roasted Pistachio Lime Pesto

grilled grouper

When it comes to preparing most kinds of fish, I generally stick to the rule that simple is better. And this grilled grouper certainly adheres to that guideline. The grouper is grilled over a cherry wood fire, nothing more. What sets it apart is the pesto, which uses roasted pistachio nuts instead of the traditional pine nuts and lime, rather than the lemon I sometimes use.

Grouper, by the way, is the perfect fish for the grill. It usually comes in fillets that are thick enough (a half-inch or more) for grilling and it stays nice and firm throughout. It also flakes in a predictable way when it is done, which takes some of the guesswork out of timing. About 3-4 minutes per side is sufficient.

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