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Escoveitch Shrimp

1 lb jumbo shrimp, shell removed

1 lime

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp oil

1 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 cup white vinegar

1/8 tsp sugar

2 medium carrots, finely julienned

1 red bell pepper, finely julienned

1 green bell pepper, finely julienned

1 yellow bell pepper, finely julienned

1 christophene, peeled finely julienned

1 yellow onion, sliced into thin rings

1 habañero pepper, sliced into thin rings*

6 whole allspice berries

1 small bunch fresh parsley, for garnish

*With one or two rare exceptions, habañero peppers are the hottest peppers on Earth. Be sure to wear rubber gloves when slicing them, taking care not to touch your skin or eyes. When finished working with them, be sure to wash all implements thoroughly in very hot, soapy water.

Escoveitch is a West Indian preparation typically used in the preparation of almost any type of fish. Nowadays, it is a freshly made preparation, but in colonial times, it was used as a means of preserving fish, as the acid in the vinegar would cure the fish and keep it for long periods of time. In "The Virginia Housewife Or, Methodical Cook", Mary Randolph shares a recipe “To Caveach Fish,” which, like the recipe, suggests serving the dish at room temperature.


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Place the shrimp in a medium-size shallow dish. Add water to cover and squeeze the lime juice into the water. Gently “wash” the fillets with the lime water. Discard the water and pat the shrimp dry. Dip the shrimp into the flour to coat evenly, shaking off any excess.

Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook until slightly browned on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the shrimp and place on a serving platter.

In a medium-size saucepan, combine 1 cup water, the vinegar and sugar, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, bell peppers, onion, christophene, habañero pepper and allspice berries, and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes until heated through. Remove the habañero pepper slices and discard.

To serve, spoon the vegetables and sauce over the shrimp, and garnish with parsley. Serves 8.