It’s almost Cinco de Mayo, y’all- the day when we celebrate the heroic bravery of the Mexican army in defeating the oppressive French occupants in a historic battle in pursuit of freedom and democracy and stuff! (I don’t know I just copy and pasted that off Wikipedia because I’m pretty sure it’s just an excuse for white college students to dress up in offensive Mexican stereotypes and black out during the day.)
Speaking of drunk white kids, remember that episode of The O.C. where they all go to Tijuana and Marissa Cooper chases a bunch of benzos with Tequila and passes out in the alley way? Of course you do; it is the greatest thing that has ever happened on television.
You see, I had planned on doing this really clever and elaborate Throwback Thursday post breaking down all of the intricacies of that episode and tying it into this Tequila Lime Shrimp Scampi I made the day before, but alas the universe had other plans and I ended up in a hotel room in Chicago with a debilitating sinus infection. Long story, but the point is I MISSED THROWBACK THURSDAY!!!!
And so, I apologize, but the show must go on. Cinco de Mayo is rapidly approaching and how can you possibly celebrate without this glorious recipe I have to share with you? (I know, you’re like, “uh, I’ll just drink the fucking tequila instead of going through the hassle of cooking with it,” but don’t be like that. You’re not a horribly parented sophomore in high school anymore; grow up, Coop.)
So here is my slightly half-assed version of a Throwback Friday, because honestly every day is an appropriate day to commemorate The O.C., a teen soap opera in its most perfect form. This recipe is a salute to you, Marissa, for teaching me that I can be whatever I want to be- angsty, drunk, anorexic, lesbian for attention, dead- and still remain the most boring person in the history of the Earth. Rest in peace, darling.
The thought process of this dish was simple: I love tequila lime shrimp; I love shrimp scampi; let’s combine them into one. And it worked oh so beautifully. The marinade is almost like a Mexican sangria, based in white wine and tequila with the zest and juice of a lime. The “scampi” part of this is the garlic, butter, parsley, and spritz of lemon juice you add at the end. How could those ingredients not make something delicious? Originally I made this with cilantro instead of parsley to really drive home the Mexican flare of this, but I found it to be too overpowering. If you’re a cilantro lover, however, you might want to go with that.
Here’s what I propose for you: this Sunday, instead of going to some crappy, overpriced, crowded bar, invite for friends over for a Cinco de Mayo brunch and make this dish. You can drink the tequila you don’t cook with, break out that old Rooney album and imagine how dramatic and fun your lives could have been if you had been born in Newport Beach. Just make sure you invite that lovably rough-around-the-edges neighbor of yours if there will be pills involved.
(I know I normally have a bunch of cooking process pictures to go along with my recipe, but I left my camera at home and I’m still at a hotel in Chicago with a sinus infection. I’m really on the ball this week!)
Tequila Lime Shrimp Scampi
Serves: 4 – 6
1 lb. linguini
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tbsp. tequila
¾ cup dry white wine
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 lime, zested and juiced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
6 tbsp butter
1 lemon, juiced
¼ cup fresh minced parsley
In a bowl, mix together tequila, white wine, garlic, lime zest and juice, olive oil, and whisk to combine. Toss in shrimp, coating evenly in the marinade, and let sit in the refrigerator for one hour.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a rolling boil for the linguini. (Tip: it’s best to do this early so that the water is waiting for you and not the other way around.) Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
Take shrimp out of the fridge, remove from marinade (but do not toss the marinade), and season well with salt. In a large pan, melt 2 tbsp of the butter until it is foaming. Saute the shrimp in the butter for about 1-2 minutes on each side until just cooked through. Remove the shrimp from the pan onto a plate lined with paper towel.
In the same pan, pour in the marinade you used on the shrimp, season with salt, and bring it to a simmer, letting it reduce by about half. Toss in remaining 4 tbsp butter,lemon juice, and parsley. Return shrimp to the pan to heat through, and serve immediately on top of the linguini.