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November 2002 Issue
Drunken Shrimp
by Philip R. Gantt
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Welcome to Seasoned Cooking and to Phil's International Flair!

Hello there. Having taken a week off to relax while being on call for jury duty and changing careers, I spent quite a bit of time watching the food channel on television. What a great channel! I got to watch Emeril, the Galloping Gourmet, Julia Child, Bobbie Flay, Wolfgang Puck and a host of other fine and entertaining chefs. One thing I noticed is that true chefs are not afraid of using real butter or lard. Emeril seems to be particularly bent on using fat in his cooking. I can't say that I blame him, as there is no good substitute for real fat in a dish.

For those who are fat conscious, you should consider that even a little fat in a dish helps to make a meal much more satisfying and filling. I think this tends to make one eat less. Of course, those on restricted diets may want to limit their intake of fat. Most of us, however, can benefit from a little fat in our diet, in my opinion. It certainly adds to the flavor of a dish.

Before we move on to this month's recipe, I would like to address an email reply from a reader who commented on my use of the word salsa in referring to it as a salad. Indeed, the reader is correct and salsa literally means sauce. Ensalada is the word for salad. However, I have had several people refer to salsa in the way I prepare it as a "Tomato Salad." This may be due to the fact that I make it chunky rather than smooth. I suppose that the only difference between a salad and a sauce, when using vegetables, relates to the degree of fineness that one prepares the vegetables. When chunky, it is perceived more as a salad, and when finely chopped, crushed or pureed, it becomes more of a sauce. I offer my thanks to the reader for the comments and correction.

I've given some thought to presenting a seasonal recipe this month, something to fit in with the theme of Thanksgiving. This recipe may exactly fit the bill, but is not completely out of line. The original pilgrims not only had turkey for the first thanksgiving dinner, but served lobster, clams and whatever other things were available at the time. They may have also served shrimp, but probably not like this!

The origins of this recipe are unknown. It could be oriental or it could be Mexican. I suppose it may depend on what liquor you use to "drunken" the shrimp. I tried something similar once in Santa Barbara at some festive occasion and thought they were wonderful.

Now, on to the recipe!


Drunken Shrimp

This dish may be served as an appetizer or as a main course.
  • 1 lb. shelled large prawns or shrimp
  • Juice of 2 limes (lemon may be substituted)
  • 1/2 cup tequila (vodka, brandy, rice wine, or another liquor may be used as a substitute)
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 2 oz. fresh chopped cilantro
Marinate the shelled prawns or shrimp in the other ingredients for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, under refrigeration in a close container. Skewer the prawns and grill them briefly, about 2 to 3 minutes per side over hot coals. Alternatively, broil them in a preheated oven for the same amount of time. Remove from skewers, arrange on a serving dish, and serve immediately. Garnish with sprigs of cilantro, lemon or lime wedges and slivered green onions.


  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 40 minutes total

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