Achiote Seared Shrimp with Habanero Pickled Onions and Cilantro

Another Rick Bayless gem. The onions can be made well in advance. I plated here using a basting brush, but you could simply drizzle the sauce or use a squeeze bottle. I had the temptation to write out a word or draw a heart or some such…perhaps next time. :)


  • 1/2 small package (3 1/2 ounces) prepared achiote paste (such as Yucateco, La Anita or Marin brand)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • Salt
  • 1 1/4 pounds (about 24 pieces) large shrimp, peeled, leaving tail and final segment intact/li>

Ingredients, Onions

  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small habanero chile, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice

Ingredients, To Finish

  • 3 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
  • Roughly chopped cilantro or parsley, for garnish


  • Large Skillet
  • Blender
  • Cutting Board, Knife
  • Bowl to Marinate Onions
  • Bowl or dish to marinate shrimp


  1. Marinate the shrimp. Break the achiote paste into a blender jar and add the garlic, orange and lime juices, vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth. Pour over the shrimp, cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare the onions. In a small bowl, combine the onion, habanero (or as much of it as you think you’ll like), lime and 1 scant teaspoon salt. Cover and let stand until the shrimp is ready. (If working ahead, the onions may be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for several days.)
  3. Cook the shrimp. In a very large (12-inch) skillet, heat the oil over medium-high. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the shrimp out of the marinade and into the hot oil, leaving behind as much marinade as possible. Stir-fry until the shrimp is just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Scoop onto a serving plate, pour all of the marinade into the skillet, and stir continuously until the mixture thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Thin the sauce with a little water until it’s the consistency of a cream sauce. Spoon the sauce over the shrimp. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro or parsley and serve with the pickled onions.

*Serves 4.

All recipes stolen/borrowed from somewhere, butchered/adapted exclusively by CHEF BOY/R/C.