Grilled Shrimp with Mole Amarillo
I was finally able to locate a source for hoja santa plants which lead me to share this recipe for Mole Amarillo. This is a classic mole that pairs well with shellfish. Plus, as soon as I no longer have to worry about frostbite, I'm ready to start using the grill. If you use flat skewers instead of round ones for grilling the shrimp, they won't spin around when you flip them.
Two sources for purchasing hoja santa plants are: Almost Eden and Companion Plants.
5 to 6 (1 1/2 ounces) guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 (6 ounces) plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 medium (6 ounces) fresh tomatillos, husks removed, washed, roughly chopped
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoon oil, plus a little extra for brushing the shrimp
About 5 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh masa or 4 to 5 tablespoons powdered masa harina
1 medium hoja santa leaf, chiffonade (1/4 cup loosely packed) See headnote for sources.
36 (approximately 2 pounds) large peeled and deveined raw shrimp, tail section left intact
Toast the chiles a few at a time on a medium-hot skillet or griddle. Lay them skin-side up, press flat with a metal spatula until they are aromatic and lightened in color underneath – about 10 seconds per side. (If you see more than a whiff of smoke, they are burning.) On the other side of the pan, roast the unpeeled garlic until soft and blotchy black in places, about 10 minutes. Once cooled, peel and place in a blender jar.
In a 4-quart saucepan, combine the guajillo chiles, tomatoes, tomatillos and 2 cups water. Set the pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, lower the heat and gently simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the mixture, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Transfer the chile mixture and the reserved cooking liquid to the blender. Add the cumin and black pepper, blend until smooth.
Clean the pot and return it to the stove. Add the oil and set over medium high heat. Once the oil is very hot, strain the chile puree into the pot using a medium mesh strainer. Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture has reduced to the consistency of thick tomato sauce, about 4 minutes. Whisk in 5 cups of the chicken broth, lower the heat and simmer very gently for 30 minutes.
Turn on the gas grill to medium-high or light a charcoal grill and let the coals burn until quite hot and covered with white ash. Thread the shrimp onto the skewers, 6 per skewer. Brush the shrimp with oil, but wait to season with salt until just before you place them on the grill.
Finish the mole by mixing together the masa or masa harina with the remaining chicken broth until smooth. Pour it through a strainer into the pot of simmering mole. Whisk to incorporate, and continue whisking until the mole returns to a boil. You're looking for the mole to have the consistency of a light cream soup. Once there, season with salt, about 1 teaspoon and add the hoja santa. Continue simmering for another 5 minutes. Keep warm while you grill the shrimp.
Lay the skewers on the grill grates, then close the grill. After 2 or 3 minutes, when the shrimp are brown on one side, turn them over and grill the other side, usually just another minute or so. You know when the shrimp are done when you can see just a hint of translucency in the center of each piece. You're now ready to serve.
Jill's Wine Recommendation: I would pick a 2004 Reserva Marqués
de Cáceres, Rioja, Spain which is mainly Tempranillo. It works well
with the fennel flavor of the hoja santa while having enough acidity to
balance the tomato and tomatillo.