Moqueca de camarão
Dendê (palm) oil brings to the cooking of coastal Brazil what drums bring to samba: an insistent underlying sensuality. It transforms the coconut milk with its deep orange-red color and makes the flavor of the shrimp sing. But it is as perishable as it is seductive, so smell it before you use it.
Active time: 25 min Start to finish: 45 minYield: Makes 6 servings
Active Time: 25 min
Total Time: 45 min
1 1/4 lb large shrimp in shell (21 to 25 per lb), peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 (14- to 15-oz) can diced tomatoes including juice
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
5 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup well-stirred canned unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon dendê (palm) oil*
Accompaniment: cooked white rice
Toss shrimp with black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, garlic, and lemon juice and marinate, covered and chilled, 20 minutes.
Purée tomatoes with juice in a blender until smooth.
Cook onion and bell pepper in olive oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add cayenne, 1 tablespoon cilantro, and remaining teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add tomato purée and simmer briskly, stirring, until mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Stir in coconut milk and bring to a boil, then add shrimp mixture and cook, stirring, until shrimp are just cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Stir in dendê oil and remaining 4 tablespoons cilantro and season with salt and pepper.
* Available at Brazilian and West African markets and Kalustyan's (800-352-3451).