Photo by Sonia Mendez Garcia

Camarones Enchilados (Spicy Chile Shrimp)

Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
The smoky chile cascabel combined with a few spices and oil yields these tasty camarones enchilados that will be gone in a flash!

Whenever I'm craving some spicy seafood, I pull out my supply of dried chiles to prepare these camarones enchilados (spicy shrimp). One of my special tricks for this dish is my homemade chile oil. I pair two kinds of chiles, cascabel and California, with garlic and spices to create a smoky chile oil. I also suggest using a mild oil, like grapeseed or light olive oil, for this recipe. Once you prepare it, you can use it for various recipes. Besides being a tasty marinade, it's delicious in a homemade vinaigrette or for sautéed vegetables.

Try this recipe next time you are craving camarones enchilados. It's a perfect appetizer or starter for your next gathering.


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  1. Remove stems and seeds from dried chiles. Toast for 1-2 minutes on a preheated stovetop at medium heat, comal or griddle pan. Use a metal spatula to gently press peppers. As soon as they become aromatic and change slightly in color, transfer them to a pot of simmering water. Simmer for 5 minutes. Cover and let sit for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Drain the peppers and transfer them to the blender. Add the garlic, 1/2 cup of oil, vinegar, oregano, cumin, pepper and salt to taste. Blend on high until smooth. Add the remaining oil and pulse to blend. Strain chile oil through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Taste for salt. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes .... Overnight is even better!
  3. When ready, season cleaned shrimp with salt, pepper and chile de arbol powder. Mix in 4 tablespoons of chile cascabel oil. Stir well to combine. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  4. Remove shrimp from refrigerator 20 minutes before cooking. Preheat cast-iron pan at medium heat for 3-4 minutes. When hot, drizzle in 1½ tablespoons of chile oil. Sear shrimp for 5-6 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time. If the pan is smaller, you may want to cook in batches. Keep shrimp warm covered in foil as they cook.
  5. Drizzle in some of the chile oil into a separate skillet. Heat to medium. After a minute, add a 2 corn tortillas. Cook for 30-40 seconds per side, drizzling in a little more chile oil if you like. Cook just until tortillas befin to crisp up slightly. Transfer to serving plate. Add 2 shrimp per tortilla, avocado, cilantro, lime and serrano. Drizzle more chile oil over the top. Serve right away.

Chef Notes

Stir chile oil well before each use. Otherwise you will not get the tasty chile pulp and spices down at the bottom. You can substitute the oil in this recipe for extra virgin olive oil if you like. It will solidify when refrigerated. So remember to let it sit at room temperature for a little while before using. If not using the oil right away, I would suggest refrigerating or freezing it.

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