Chile-Marinated Shrimp with Corn Esquites

With El Cabo Verde, 2016 Chef to Watch Gabriel Balderas is getting back to his roots with authentic Mexican street food. “We like to incorporate a Mexican touch to Louisiana ingredients. To me, they’re so similar,” he says. The menu includes items like posole with collard greens, and ceviche with Louisiana shrimp. These Chile-Marinated Shrimp with Corn Esquites, a riff on the popular street corn, features locally grown corn and Louisiana shrimp.

Chile-Marinated Louisiana Shrimp with Corn Esquites
Serves 4
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  1. 1 large egg yolk
  2. 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  3. 3 teaspoons salt, divided
  4. 1¼ cups olive oil, divided
  5. 3 cups water, divided
  6. 2 cups fresh sweet corn kernels, rinsed and drained
  7. 1 sprig dried epazote
  8. ¼ teaspoon Mexican chili powder
  9. 2 ounces dried chile de árbol, seeded
  10. 2 ounces dried guajillo peppers, seeded
  11. 2 ounces fresh onion, chopped
  12. 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  13. ½ pound peeled and deveined large fresh shrimp (tails left on)
  14. 1 cup grated aged Manchego or crumbled Cotija cheese
  15. Garnish: chili powder, fresh lime juice, fresh cilantro sprigs, thinly sliced serrano peppers
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolk, lime juice, and 1 teaspoon salt. Slowly add 1 cup oil, whisking constantly, until emulsified. Add additional salt, to taste. Cover and refrigerate.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups water, corn, epazote, chili powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes. Add additional salt, to taste. Drain and reserve.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine chile de árbol, guajillo pepper, onion, oregano, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1 cup water. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes. Transfer to the container of a blender, and process until smooth. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, and add additional salt, to taste. In a large bowl, combine chile mixture and shrimp; cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
  4. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat; add remaining ¼ cup oil. Add shrimp, and cook for 2 minutes per side; set aside. Divide corn among four bowls, and top each with 1 tablespoon reserved lime aïoli. Top each with shrimp. Top with cheese. Garnish with chili powder, lime juice, cilantro, and serrano peppers, if desired.
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