Cactus Shrimp with Cactus-Lime-Butter Sauce
5 prickly pear tunas, dethorned (if necessary) and peeled
1 (8-oz.) box tempura mix (some will be left over)
1 T. achiote paste
1/2 lb. large or medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 c. cornstarch peanut oil
Pulse tunas briefly in a food processor or blender; strain. Set aside 1 c. puréed tunas, and reserve remaining 1/4 c. for Cactus-Lime-Butter Sauce. Combine 1 c. tempura mix and the achiote paste in a blender or food pro-cessor, and pulse until smooth. Place mixture in a medium-size bowl, add 1 c. puréed tunas, and mix well. Chill. Dust shrimp with cornstarch. Dip each shrimp individually into tempura-tuna batter, and fry in hot oil (375°) until golden brown, frying only 3-4 at a time. Drain well. Serve with Cactus-Lime-Butter Sauce. Yield: 3-4 appetizer servings or 2 main-dish servings.
1/4 c. white wine
1/2 bunch cilantro, stems removed
1 shallot, minced
1/4 c. heavy cream
1/4 lb. unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 c. prickly pear tuna purée (reserved earlier)
Combine wine, cilantro, and shallot in a heavy 2-qt. saucepan. Cook over medium heat until wine is almost gone.
While the wine is reducing, zest the lime; set zest aside. Juice the lime; set juice aside.
When the wine has reduced to almost nothing, add lime zest, lime juice, and heavy cream, stirring constantly with a whisk. Lower heat, and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat for about 5 minutes.
While the pot is still hot, slowly begin whisking in the butter, a tablespoon at a time, until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve. Keep sauce warm—if it becomes too cold or too hot, the sauce will separate, and you’ll have to begin the process again. Fold in the cactus purée. Yield: Enough sauce for Cactus Shrimp.
From the April 1998 issue.