DIANA KENNEDY’S CAMARONES EN ESCABECHE ROJO (shrimp pickled in red chile sauce, for 6 to 8 as a first course)
For the sauce:
½ cup olive oil
5 dried ancho chiles, wiped clean, seeds and veins removed
1/3 cup roughly sliced white onion
3 garlic cloves, roughly sliced
¼ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
3 whole cloves
1-¼ cups mild white vinegar
2 Mexican bay leaves
1/8 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
salt to taste
1 pound medium shelled and cooked shrimps
- Heat the oil in a skillet and fry the chiles lightly on both sides. Tear into pieces. Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and fry until translucent. Transfer onions and garlic to the blender jar with a slotted spoon (reserve the oil in the skillet) and add the chiles, ¼ teaspoon oregano, the peppercorns and cloves to the blender jar.
- Heat the vinegar and pour it over the ingredients in the blender jar. Set aside to soak for about 10 minutes, then blend to a smooth, thick consistency. No more liquid should be necessary, but if it is then add vinegar, not water (see note below).
- Reheat the oil in the skillet and add the sauce, together with the bay leaves, additional 1/8 teaspoon oregano and salt. Once the mixture in the pan starts to bubble, lower the heat and continue to cook the sauce for about 15 minutes, stirring it from time to time to avoid sticking. Put a lid over the pan, as the thick sauce will splatter about fiercely. Leave the sauce in the refrigerator to ripen for at least 3 days before using it.
- Dilute the sauce with a little water, heat and add shrimps for just long enough to heat them through.
NOTE: If the sauce has no water in it, it will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator; it will also freeze well, but let it ripen first.
from Diana Kennedy, The Essential Cuisines of Mexico