I first tasted pineapple and cilantro in a salsa in San Bias, on the west coast of Mexico, which possesses some of the best shrimp I ever ate, as well as the longest rideable wave in Mexico. Taking breathers from many hours in the water, we would come up to a palapa (a beachfront stand) to eat bowlfuls of shrimp and drink beer.
You can serve the shrimp in a heap with piles of chopped onion and thinly sliced cabbage. You have to have fresh, soft tortillas and just slap them on the grill for a second to warm them up.
Yield: Serves 4 as an appetizer
24 16/20 count (medium-size) shrimp
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
for the salsa:
½ ripe medium pineapple
½ red bell pepper
½ large red onion
4 ancho chile peppers, soaked in water for 12 hours, drained, and puréed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
6 tablespoons lime juice (about 3 limes)
¼ cup pineapple juice
16 soft tortillas (flour or com), warmed slightly in the oven
for the garnishes:
½ head green or red cabbage, shredded
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup chopped fresh red or green jalapeño chile peppers
1. Peel and devein the shrimp and remove their tails.
2. Thread the shrimp on skewers, salt and pepper them to taste, and grill over medium heat, 3 to 4 minutes per side, until they are opaque.
3. Remove the shrimp from the skewers and chop each shrimp into 3 or 4 pieces. Set aside.
4. Make the salsa: Dice the pineapple, red pepper, and red onion. Add the pureed ancho chile peppers, and mix together in a medium bowl with the oregano, cumin, and lime and pineapple juices.
5. Warm the tortillas slightly on the grill.
6. Put the shrimp, salsa, and tortillas out on a table, along with the shredded cabbage, sour cream, and jalapeños as garnishes, and let people make their own rolled tortillas.
This is one of your basic guest participation dishes, calling for folks to create according to their own taste.