Appetite For Instruction: Camarones A La Veracruzana

Recipe Demonstrated By Jesse Sanchez Of La Calle Doce

Jesse Sanchez loves the restaurant business. It's a family thing.

Back in 1981, his brother-in-law Oscar Sanchez took over a hard-luck spot in Oak Cliff that even the Cuellar family of El Chico fame couldn't conquer. Almost 30 years later, La Calle Doce is still going strong. Jesse runs the Mexican seafood restaurant's second location in Lakewood, younger sib to the original on 12th Street. Newly renovated and redecorated, the neighborhood favorite reopened on April 15th following an 8-month hiatus due to fire.

La Calle Doce's Camarones a la Veracruzana (Veracruz-style Shrimp) has been one of its most popular dishes since the very beginning. In fact, many of the restaurants' staff members hail from Veracruz, a coastal Mexican state with some 400-plus miles of shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico.

Seafood, of course, is a way of life there, and this traditional preparation is colorful, spicy and damn pretty on the plate.

Step One: Ready the following ingredients:
20 large or jumbo shrimp, cleaned and deveined
2 tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
½ white onion, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
one small can sliced black olives
one can of baby corn spears
¼ cup fish or chicken stock
1 tsp. paprika

Step Two: Heat butter in a large skillet until foaming and add garlic. Sauté until fragrant, then add shrimp. (Ingredients above make enough for four; we're demonstrating a single serving.)

Step Three: Sauté shrimp for one minute and add peppers, onion and tomato. Cook for 2-4 minutes, stirring frequently, depending on desired tenderness.

Step Four: Add remaining ingredients, along with salt and crushed red pepper to taste, and heat until bubbling. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with hot cooked rice. Throw in a few cold Coronas and you've got yourself an impressive summertime dinner party.

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