As a wedding present many years ago, my parents gave my new bride and I their week in a timeshare (and the ability to trade it for a week someplace else). We scoured the timeshare trading company’s book (yes, this was pre-Internet) for someplace we wanted to go and, with my new wife still in graduate school, someplace we could afford. We identified Mazatlan, Mexico.
Mazatlan in early January was the perfect place to escape to from cold Ohio (as a note, we had 2 inches of ice coating the car on our return and it took 45 minutes to chisel through the ice with my only tool, my car key). We visited old town, watched the cliff divers and took an inland tour. We drank copious amounts of Coco Locos (a rum based drink served in a coconut, husk and all) and sampled the great foods of the Mexican Pacific Rivera.
One excursion we decided to go on was a Booze Cruise. The boat’s capitan was Arturo, and he had a first mate named Senior Goofy. Senior Goofy’s sole responsibility was to keep the booze flowing freely. He was VERY good at his job. The itinerary for the trip was to spend some time out in the harbor and then to an island right off shore. On the island we could do one of a number of activities (we rode horses on the beach) and then would be served a grilled dinner right on the beach. I forget the few choices that were available to us, because we both chose shrimp, and my life was never the same.
I was expecting shrimp cocktail type shrimp. Pink. Cold. What I was served, was Diablo Shrimp. Grilled, spicy and the best seafood I had ever eaten. Several years later we purchased our first grill and I went in search of replicating that recipe. The closest I came is below.
Use decent sized shrimp (16-20 or 21-30).
Clean the shrimp. I also like to remove the tail, as it makes it a much more pleasurable experience for the diner. Skewer your shrimp. The recipe calls for also skewering garlic cloves, but I skip that in order to fit more shrimp on the grill.
I like to marinate the shrimp after skewered. This way you can go from marinade to the grill and you don’t waste the marinade on your hands. I will often double the ingredients for the marinade as I will use it to baste the shrimp on the grill.
Grill the shrimp. Generally over a medium heat, I have found the shrimp need 3-4 minutes per side. Baste once on each side with left over marinade.
- 12-16 large whole cloves garlic, plus 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 lb. large or jumbo shrimp
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- ¼ cup tomato sauce (pureed tomatoes)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Drop whole garlic cloves into a saucepan of rapidly boiling water and blanch for 3 minutes. Drain will and set aside.
Peel and de-vein the shrimp. In a large bowl stir together the oil, tomato sauce, vinegar, basil, minced garlic, salt and cayenne pepper. Add the shrimp and toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes, tossing once or twice.
Preheat the grill. Remove the shrimp from the marinade and reserve. Thread the shrimp and garlic cloves alternately onto the skewers. Arrange the skewers on the rack. Grill, turning them frequently and brush with marinade until the shrimp turns pink, about 6 to 8 minutes.