Shrimp Stuffed Avocado

Thursday, December 30, 2010

This is one of The Hubster's favorite dishes. Apparently, his mother made stuffed avocados for Christmas. And one of the first Christmases we had together back east, he asked me if I could figure out one too. And so I did. Back in Connecticut it was usually snowing or at the very least, bitterly cold, so any chance I got to brighten up our tiny condo with something yummy I took. For these avocados, I made a stuffing with tequila-sauteed shrimp in garlic and chile powder, red onion and jalapeno for a little heat, fresh and fragrant parsley and mint add an unexpected coolness to the dish, and seasoned the mixture with salt, pepepr and a small dash of smoky cumin. For a non-alcoholic version you can do olive oil and lemon juice and it's just as tasty.

The stuffing part can be made in advance, but the avocados shouldn't be cut and stuffed until just ready to serve because exposed avocado flesh oxodises very quickly. This recipe is for 4 individual servings, using 2 avocados that are cut in half and each person having one half as a serving. You can adjust to add more ingredients for a larger portion if you're planning to serve more people: a good rule is 3 shrimp per person and then some added filling (onion, cilantro, etc.)...eyeball it. These are best served at room temperature or even better, a little chilled.

Shrimp Stuffed Avocados
2 ripe Haas avocados
6-8 raw jumbo shrimp or large prawns -- peeled, deveined, and tails removed
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil + 1 Tbsp, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup red onion, finely minced
1/2 jalapeno, finely minced (seeded if you want it less spicy; keep the seeds if you want it hotter)
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp fresh mint, roughly chopped
juice of 1 lemon or 2 limes
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ancho chile powder

Set avocados aside and prepare the filling.

Take the shrimp and wash them in cold water, then drain well and pat dry with paper towel. Cut the raw shrimp into small pieces -- easiest way to do this is slice the shrimp in half lengthwise and then chop up in to small bites. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick pan. Add the shrimp and season with a small pinch of salt and some pepper to taste, and the pinch of chile powder. Add the garlic and cook on medium-high heat until shrimp is cooked through and turns an opaque-pink color, about 2-4 minutes depending on the size you cut the shrimp, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat promptly when cooked and transfer to a medium sized bowl. Let stand to cool.

While the shrimp cools, prepare the rest of your stuffing mixture. Add the red onion, jalapeno, and cilantro to the bowl with the shrimp. Add the cumin, a small pinch of salt and more pepper to taste, the lemon or lime juice, and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and gently toss to mix well. If you plan to stuff the avocados later, then cover bowl and chill in refrigerator until ready to serve. If serving immediately, then slice each avocado in half and take out the pit, discard pit. Spoon a generous amount of stuffing into the cavity of the avocado (where the pit used to be) and mount it on top. Place on plate and serve immediately.

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