This recipe is one of my personal creations. It makes a gorgeous presentation and the flavor is magnificent!
Your family and friends will think you slaved over it, but let's just keep that little secret between us! ;-)
As a Dinner meal, this recipe serves 2 generously. As a appetizer, it will serve up to 6.
Step 1: Ingredients and Prep
12 ounces Raw (defrosted weight) Jumbo Shrimp (20-25 per pound)
For the Azul Sauce:
1/2 cup (one stick) Butter, divided- One 4 Tablespoon chunk and four individual 1 Tablespoon chunks
2 oz. Cream Cheese (Full fat- no scrimping ;-)
1 oz. Cambozola Cheese*
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream - (may substitute Half & Half)
1 Tablespoon Capers
1 teaspoon fresh garlic- grated or minced
1/4 teaspoon Dried Parsley
Garlic Salt to taste
2 Tablespoon Gruyere, Romano or Parmesan Cheese
Lime Wedges- a MUST! ;-)
Put 2 ozs. of Cream Cheese in a small bowl.
Cut 1 oz of Cambozola Cheese from the wedge. Use a sharp, thin knife to remove the rind from the Cambozola cheese. Eat the rind. ;-)
Put the Cambozola cheese in the bowl with the cream cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and allow them an hour or more to reach room temperature. (No, you cannot microwave Cambozola cheese successfully. Don't even think about it. ;-)
Remove the skin from a large clove of fresh garlic. Grate or mince 1 heaping teaspoon. Set aside.
Rinse the Capers in cold water. Set aside.
Finely grate 1/4 cup Gruyere cheese. Place in a small dish and set aside. If you keep your home warm, put this cheese in the refrigerator until serving time.
Slice the limes into wedges. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving time.
* Cambozola is a triple-cream, blue-veined cheese. It's an exquisite German hybrid creation that combines Camembert with the blue veins of a Gorgonzola. You can find it at Costco ( approx $9 per pound), specialty cheese shops and online.
Step 2: Shell, Butterfly and Devein the Shrimp
There are tools specifically designed to shell shrimp. I don't own one and my fingers work just fine! ;-)
Start by pulling the legs off. Then, beginning at the cut end, gently peel off the shell, leaving the tail intact.
Use a small, sharp knife. Hold the shrimp between your thumb and forefinger. Work from the cut end to the tail. Use light strokes to gently slice almost all the way through to the underside of the Shrimp. The cut should be deep enough so the shrimp will open widely. (See pics.)
A dull knife is a dangerous knife. Although shrimp meat is very tender and butterflying them is a simple task, always use extreme caution during the procedure.
If you are considered "clumsy" with knives (like I used to be ;-) you can lay the shrimp (bottom-side down) on a cutting board and safely make the back incision that way. Just work slowly so you don't cut the shrimp in half. (See pics.)
Shrimp have 2 veins.
The small vein that runs along the underside is the nerve cord. Unless your working with VERY large shrimp, it's not worth fussing over. We aren't, so we won't. ;-)
The vein that runs along it's back is the digestive vein. That's what you're looking at right now. It obviously needs to go.
Working at your kitchen sink, run a stream of cold water over the back of the shrimp and remove this vein with your fingers.
Place the deveined shrimp in a clean colander to drain. Repeat until all shrimp are deveined.
Step 3: Saute Shrimp
Add the 4 Tablespoons Butter. Use a wooden spoon to move the butter around, completely coating the bottom on the pan
When the butter is bubbly-hot (but not smoking!) add the butterflied shrimp one at a time, cut side down. Don't crowd your pan. It's best to work in batches if you need to.
When the edges of the shrimp flesh begin curl and turn pink, use tongs to to gently turn them over.
Saute another minute or 2 longer.
Remove from the skillet and into a bowl. Cover with foil and keep warm.
Once all of the shrimp have been cooked, add 1 tablespoon Butter to the saucepan. Turn the heat off and move the saucepan to a cool burner.
You'll use the drippings to make the Azul Sauce, but the pan needs to cool down for a few minutes beforehand.
NOTES: As you add the cold shrimp to your hot skillet, it may be necessary to adjust the heat upwards. Watch the butter and lower the heat again as needed.
Step 4: Creamy Azul Sauce
Place the saucepan back onto the burner and begin heating the drippings over medium-low heat.
Add the cream cheese, Cambozola to one side of the saucepan. Add capers and garlic to the other side as it heats up.
Gently stir the garlic and capers around the pan for 3-4 minutes. Don't disturb the cheeses just yet. They'll begin to melt and that's ok. Just keep a close eye on your heat so the garlic doesn't scorch.
After the garlic has sauteed a few minutes, use a wire whisk to mix the cheeses, garlic and capers together.
Turn the heat up to medium and whisk constantly for 2-3 minutes.
In a slow stream, gradually pour the cream into the saucepan. Whisk constantly.
Add the parsley flakes and another tablespoon of butter.
Turn the heat up to medium-high. Keep whisking until the sauce begins to simmer. If you used heavy cream, the sauce should be fairly thick.
Whisk in the last tablespoon of butter. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer and whisk for for 3-4 minutes longer...
If the sauce is a little too thick for your preference, it's fine to add a little water. Just add 1teaspoon at a time until you're satisfied with the texture.
That's all there is! The creamy Azul sauce is ready to be spooned over your shrimp!
Step 5: Serving
A quick squeeze of fresh lime juice really makes the flavor pop, so don't forget to serve lime slices on the side!
Azul Camaron Mariposa ( loosely translated: Blue Butterflied Shrimp) tastes wonderful with wild rice pilaf and just about any green vegetable.
It's also delicious spooned over fresh pasta and served with a green salad and garlic toast.
Step 6: Advice About Shrimp!
Fresh shrimp is best when available, but frozen shrimp is still very tasty!
Wild-caught, uncooked Shrimp are always your finest choice. In comparison, freshwater shrimp have almost no flavor.
Be sure to ask the Seafood clerk if the shrimp on display is wild-caught. If it's not, shop elsewhere. Instead of driving all over town, you may want to call different grocers in your area to check availability.
The very worst thing you can do is over-cook Shrimp. Thank goodness it's easy to tell when they are properly cooked.
It's a good idea to always pay close attention to any type of seafood during the cook-cycle. Some meats are forgiving... but Seafood isn't one of them.
The end. ;-)