Pan-Seared Shrimp with Green Chile Adobo


Rick Bayless says that the marriage of green chile and cilantro is iconic in the Mexican kitchen. So I made the green chile adobo, a kind of Mexican pesto, which offers a way to preserve fresh herb flavor and add depth and interest to everyday dishes. Key ingredients include roasted garlic and serrano chiles, parsley, cilantro and lots of olive oil. All blended together in a blender or food processor. See the cheat sheet below for details.

Once you have this beautiful Mexican saucy flavoring on hand, the possibilities are limitless. Toss it with pasta. Mix with eggs. Smear over roasted vegetables. Drizzle on dips. Saute with seafood. I made this adobo a few weeks ago. Surprised how it stays vibrant, green and flavorful for so long.

I added this herby and spicy green chile adobo to shrimps and caramelized onions for a delectable main course. That took me only minutes from start to finish. Caramelized the onions took six to seven minutes under medium heat in a large cast iron skillet. Then the onions were set aside. Using the same skillet, I heated two tablespoons of vegetable oil until the pan was sizzling hot. Tossed in the shrimps that I dried thoroughly. They were browned in less than two minutes under high heat. (I used one pound of 31-40 per pound raw shrimps in two batches.) Off the heat, the onions and dollops of green chile adobo mixture were stirred into the shrimps. Done!

Rich Bayless cooked all the onions and shrimps together for about 5 to 6 minutes in a large skillet in one full scoop. I took a more conservative approach and cooked them separately, so that the onions were nicely caramelized and the shrimps were richly browned.

In his book More Mexican Everyday, Rick Bayless wrote about simple ways to create dynamic flavor. His short cuts call for making one of these flavor-packed adobos and sauces that you’d always want to have in the refrigerator, ready to be deployed anytime. He features them as his secret weapons. I’m looking forward to try my hands on the other secret weapons I haven’t tried yet: a marinade-like red chile adobo, a slow-roasted garlic mojo and a smoky sweet-sour dark chipotle seasoning. Yum!

In Mexican cooking, the flavorings have a lot to do with the adobos, as I’ve uncovered here.




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  • Reply
    March 11, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    The color of the adobo is incredible. I've pinned this to try later.

  • Reply
    Deb in Hawaii
    March 12, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    Oh yes, I can think of so many uses for that gorgeous green chile adobo! It looks pretty amazing in your shrimp dish here–you have to love flavorful dishes that are quick and easy to get on the table. 😉

  • Reply
    Grace Phua
    March 14, 2016 at 3:13 am

    Being the ignorant me, I've always thought adobo is Filipino 😛 Now I realised it is Mexican. Oh dear me!! Nevertheless, this green chili adobo really looks very very good 🙂 I'm sure it adds alot of flavour to the shrimps 🙂

  • Reply
    Joyce Rachel Lee-Bates
    March 14, 2016 at 4:51 am

    Oh, me too. I have always thought adobo is part of the Filipino cuisine. 😀

  • Reply
    March 14, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    I believe adobo has a Latin origin.

  • Reply
    March 14, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    Oh yes…I love shrimp any which way, and this green chile adobo sounds like a unique and delicious twist! I've tried Rick's garlic mojo. It was one of my favorite recipes back when we spent six months with him. Great pick for celebrating Bayless' recipes.

  • Reply
    March 14, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    Garlic mojo is on my short list to make after I've tasted in deep flavor in the green chile adobo.

  • Reply
    W. Atelier Pte Ltd
    March 29, 2016 at 5:21 am

    What a wonderful post. Great idea flawlessly executed.

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