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February 1999 Issue
(The way to his heart is really through his stomach!)
by Rossana S. Tarantini
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Pancetta Wrapped Shrimp with Four Chile Salsa

  • 12 raw extra jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 12 slices cured pancetta, the unrolled kind if possible
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp chili oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 medium ancho chiles
  • 2 large habanero chiles
  • 2 large cubanelle chiles
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 tbsp Tequila
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 fresh jalapenos, stemmed and chopped
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup minced cilantro
Combine the 1/2 cup lime juice, 2 garlic cloves, 1 tbsp cilantro and 1/2 tbsp oregano. Stir in shrimp and allow to marinate 1 hour. After marinating, drain the marinade and wrap the shrimp in the pancetta slice, securing with a toothpick. If you are using the rolled pancetta, fold the slices in half first. Broil until the shrimp just turn pink and serve with Four Chile Salsa for dipping.

To make the salsa: In a large cast iron skillet, place the ancho, habanero and cubanelle chiles. Toast until they are starting to soften but have not browned. This should take no more than 5 minutes. Remove them from the skillet and stem and seed them. Chop into medium sized pieces and set aside. Broil the tomatoes until charred and core and roughly chop them. In a blender or food processor, the tomatoes, peels and juices, the chiles and all other ingredients except the cilantro. Process until smooth. If it seems too thick, add some more lime juice. Refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably overnight. Allow it to come to room temperature, stir in the cilantro, adjust seasoning and serve.

  • Yields: Appetizer for 2, 2 1/2 cups salsa
  • Preparation Time: Shrimp: 1/2 hour; salsa: only God knows for sure!
 

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