Chipotle dry rub shrimp with cilantro dipping sauce recipe

Published June 23, 2010 9:24PM (EDT)

This recipe is from a holiday edition of "The Surreal Gourmet," a Salon feature from years past.

The herbs and spices do all the hard work, leaving you with plenty of energy to fend off the party crashers who are drawn in by the wafting aromas.

(Serves 12)


  • 2 pounds 12-15 count shrimp (translation: 12-15 shrimp per pound)
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1/3 - 2/3 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper (can be replaced with cayenne pepper)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups fresh cilantro, leaves and stems discarded before measuring
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice


  1.  Shell, clean and devein shrimp. (Tails may be left on for aesthetic reasons.) Pat dry.
  2.  Toss shrimp with oregano, thyme, lemon pepper, chipotle pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Ideally, let them sit in the refrigerator for an hour for the spices to meld with the shrimp.
  3. Blend cilantro in a food processor until liquefied. Stir in sour cream, lime juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  4.  Heat a dry, well-seasoned iron skillet or other heavy pan over high heat. When pan is hot, place shrimp in pan so that each one is side down (i.e., not too overcrowded). Cook for approximately 1 minute and turn over for another minute, or until shrimp is no longer translucent. Repeat as necessary to cook all shrimp.
  5. Serve warm, or at room temperature, with cilantro dipping sauce.

Le Secret: The chipotle pepper adds a unique smoky flavor to the shrimp.

Advance Prep: Cilantro sauce will keep well in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Shrimp can be cooked a day in advance, or better yet, mixed with spices in advance, then pan-cooked just before serving.

Warning: Be sure to cover up your smoke alarm before cooking the shrimp. Trust me on this.


By Bob Blumer

Bob Blumer (aka the Surreal Gourmet) hosts his own program on the Food Channel.
The Surreal Gourmet's Web Site is located at

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