Photo by Sonia Mendez Garcia

Tequila Shrimp Martini

Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 2-4 appetizer servings

Mexican Shrimp “Martini”, you ask? When one mentions the word martini, all I can hear is that famous line from James Bond, “shaken, not stirred.” I am not ashamed to say that I am old enough to have been able to enjoy all of those old movies at the drive-in as a kid in California. To great times gone by! I am a longtime subscriber to Chile Pepper magazine and this recipe was adapted from a shrimp martini recipe in the latest issue. My twist was to prepare it as a Mexican martini with tequila, instead of the vodka. I thought the asparagus was a great addition as well. The citrus, chile peppers and brine from the olives work well together to create this one of a kind savory and warm version of a Mexican martini. I might add that if you would rather prepare this dish without the alcohol, just replace the booze with chicken broth or vegetable broth.


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  1. Season the shrimp with 1½ to 2 tablespoons dry rub on both sides, set aside. Always make sure the shrimp are nice and dry before seasoning. Preheat an outdoor grill or stove-top grill pan to medium/high heat for 5 to 7 minutes. Brush grill with oil right before adding shrimp. Drizzle shrimp with a little oil and grill for just 1 to 2 minutes per side or until it starts to turn pink. Remove from heat onto plate and tent (cover loosely) with foil paper, set aside.
  2. In a skillet, preheat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the onions, chile peppers and garlic. Season lightly with salt and pepper and sautee for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add in the lime juice, orange juice, tequila, vermouth and olive brine. Stir well and return to heat.
  3. Cook the sauce for 6 to 8 minutes, or until sauce reduces and thickens a little. Add in the butter, asparagus and cilantro. Taste for salt and pepper. You can toss in the grilled shrimp and heat just until warm or you can add the shrimp to large martini glasses and ladle the warm vegetables over the top. Garnish with jalapeño-stuffed olives and more cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips or crostini bread slices.

Chef Notes

breaded-shrimp I prepare a large bowl of dry rub and use it for almost all of my grilled foods. My mix: equal parts of seasoned salt, granulated garlic, onion powder, cumin, dry mustard, black pepper, smoked paprika and chipotle powder. Store in an airtight container in a cool and dark space. shrimp-grilling I actually grilled my shrimp on an outdoor charcoal grill two days before preparing the martini. I cooled it completely and stored it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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