My favorite cocktail during the summer is a generous pour of silver tequila, fresh lime juice, a pinch of salt and a few ice cubes. It’s a tart drink, but it’s very refreshing. In fact, I just happened to be sipping on one of those delicious drinks while preparing this dish.
I had already planned to use the lime zest and cilantro to mix in with the panko coating but I hadn’t yet decided what to serve with the shrimp. Then I saw the bottle of tequila and the fresh limes and I had an epiphany. I was going to turn my drink into an aioli!
Here I thought the shrimp was going to be the star of my dinner but that aioli was so good, we couldn’t stop eating it! It was creamy, salty, zesty, garlicky and the perfect accompaniment to dip the sweet, crunchy shrimp. This would be a great summer dinner on the patio when you want something light and flavorful. Word of warning, the aioli is addicting!
For the shrimp:
16 fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Zest of one lime
Freshly ground black pepper
For the Aioli:
4 tablespoons Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons tequila
Juice from one lime
For the Aioli:
1) Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Adjust seasoning if needed.
2) Place the aioli in the refrigerator to chill. Serve cold.
For the Shrimp:
1) Combine the breadcrumbs, chopped cilantro, chopped basil and lime zest in a bowl. Set aside.
2) With a sharp knife, slice the shrimp two-thirds deep along the length of its outer curve where the vein was removed, careful not to cut all the way through the shrimp.
3) Turn the shrimp over and make three small cuts horizontally along the widest part of the shrimp on each side to prevent the shrimp from curling while they cook.
4) Lay the shrimp open side up and lightly spray them with vegetable spray. Season the shrimp with the salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder.
5) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
6) Take each shrimp and press the butterflied opening into the breadcrumb mixture, evenly coating the entire surface. Line the shrimp face up on the baking sheet about a half-inch apart.
7) Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until the shrimp are just cooked through and pink, about 5 to 7 minutes.
8) Remove the pan from the oven and serve the shrimp with the salted margarita aioli.