rummy shrimp

cast iron pan full of rummy shrimp

This is a Cuban recipe I got out of a memoir of 1940s Cuba I read a while back. It's really nice for the current quarantine because the only fresh ingredients it requires are lime juice and parsley, and the latter is optional, and the former can be substituted using this stuff. So with a little planning or online shopping it's your perfect self-isolation shrimp dish.

This is part of my Good First Recipe series, so the cooking instructions are extremely detailed. Don't be put off by that; this is really a super-easy dish that works well as a side dish with beans, rice, and other Latin foods.

The oddball ingredient in this dish is "cracker meal", something you'll find in a lot of mid-century Cuban recipes. While you can locate this in some Latin markets, most folks will buy some generic saltine crackers, and blitz them in a blender or food processor until reduced to crumbs. It takes around 10 saltines to produce the quantity required. If you can't find saltines, then just use boxed breadcrumbs.

Like usual, you should vary the amount of hot sauce based on how spicy you like things.

rummy shrimp

1 lbs to 1 1/2 lbs shrimp, shelled and cleaned
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp to 1 tsp Tabasco, Crystal, or similar vinegar hot sauce
1/2 cup light/white rum
Juice of 1-2 limes, about 1/4 cup
1 Tbs Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp cumin
4 Tbs butter and/or olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 to 3/4 cup cracker meal or breadcrumbs
3 Tbs minced parsley

Equipment: non-reactive bowl, ovenproof skillet such as 12" cast iron skillet, stovetop, broiler

Mix together the salt, tabasco, rum, lime juice, Worchestershire, and cumin as a marinade. Put the shrimp in a non-reactive bowl, pour over the marinade, toss them to coat, and then cover. Marinate for at least 1/2 hour, or for up to 2 hours in the fridge (but not overnight, the shrimp will "cook" in that time).

Drain the shrimp, reserving the marinade. Make sure the shrimp is fairly dry, using paper towels if necessary.

Heat the butter and/or oil in an ovenproof pan. Turn on the broiler to low/425F to heat it. Fry the garlic in the oil for around 1 minute, or until the smallest pieces just begin to turn brown. Carefully place the shrimp in a single layer so that they all have contact with the bottom of the pan, and fry for around 1 minute. Pour the marinade over the shrimp, bring to a boil, and boil for a full minute. You do not stir the shrimp for any of this, and the pan contents will still be wet when you are done.

Take the pan off the heat. Sprinkle with the cracker meal/breadcrumbs, making an even layer over the shrimp. Put the pan under the broiler for 3-6 minutes, until the crumbs are crisp and golden -- check it each minute after the third because they can burn quickly. Remove it from the oven and sprinkle with the parsley while still hot.

Serve with plain white rice, and optionally black beans, avocado, or other Cuban foods. Offer hot sauce on the side. Feeds four people as part of a multi-dish meal, or two if you're just having it with rice.