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Camarones al Mojo de Ajo: A Taste of Mexico’s Garlic Butter Shrimp

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Camarones al Mojo de Ajo, or Garlic Butter Shrimp, is a beloved dish in Mexican cuisine known for its simplicity and bold flavors. This article explores the origins, ingredients, cooking method, and provides a detailed recipe to help you recreate this delicious dish at home.

Culinary Heritage and Significance
Camarones al Mojo de Ajo originates from coastal regions of Mexico, where seafood is abundant and flavors are influenced by both indigenous ingredients and Spanish culinary traditions. The dish is celebrated for its use of garlic (ajo) and butter (mantequilla), which create a rich and savory sauce that perfectly complements the sweetness of shrimp (camarones).

Ingredients for Camarones al Mojo de Ajo
For the Shrimp:

1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
For the Mojo de Ajo Sauce:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional, for heat)
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste
For Serving:

Cooked white rice
Warm tortillas or crusty bread
Lime wedges
Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Cooking Method
Prepare the Shrimp:

Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
Make the Mojo de Ajo Sauce:

In a large skillet or frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1-2 minutes until fragrant and lightly golden. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
Stir in the chopped parsley, dried oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes (if using). Cook for another minute to infuse the flavors.
Cook the Shrimp:

Push the garlic to the side of the skillet and add the olive oil.
Increase the heat to medium-high and add the seasoned shrimp to the skillet in a single layer.
Cook the shrimp for 2-3 minutes per side, or until they turn pink and opaque. Avoid overcooking to keep the shrimp tender.
Pour the lime juice over the shrimp and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Serve Camarones al Mojo de Ajo:

Remove the skillet from heat and serve the shrimp immediately over cooked white rice, drizzling the garlic butter sauce over the top.
Garnish with lime wedges and chopped fresh cilantro if desired.
Serve with warm tortillas or crusty bread on the side to soak up the flavorful sauce.
Tips for Making Perfect Camarones al Mojo de Ajo
Choosing Shrimp: Use large shrimp for this recipe, as they cook quickly and are easier to handle.

Garlic Infusion: Take care not to brown the garlic too much as it can become bitter. Cook until fragrant and lightly golden.

Adjusting Heat: Control the heat level by adjusting the amount of crushed red pepper flakes added to the sauce.

Serving Suggestions: Camarones al Mojo de Ajo pairs well with a side of Mexican-style rice or a simple salad. It also makes a great filling for tacos or served over pasta for a fusion twist.

Variations
Spicy Variation: Add more crushed red pepper flakes or finely chopped jalapeños for an extra kick.

Creamy Variation: Finish the dish with a splash of heavy cream to create a creamy garlic butter sauce.

Citrus Variation: Experiment with different citrus juices such as orange or grapefruit for a refreshing twist.

Conclusion
Camarones al Mojo de Ajo offers a delightful blend of garlic, butter, and shrimp that is both comforting and full of flavor. By following the detailed recipe and tips provided in this article, you can easily recreate this classic Mexican dish at home, bringing the vibrant flavors of coastal Mexico to your dinner table. Enjoy the succulent shrimp and savory garlic butter sauce with loved ones for a memorable dining experience.

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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