Camarones de Mojo de Ajo

3/4 cup peeled whole garlic cloves (about 2 large heads)
1 cup good-quality oil, preferably extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
3 limes
2 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, seeded and cut into thin strips
2 pounds (about 48) medium-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley (optional)


To make mojo de ajo:

Either chop garlic with a sharp knife into 1/8-inch bits or drop cloves through feed tube of a running food processor and process until pieces are
roughly 1/8 inch. You should have about 1/2 cup chopped garlic.

Scoop into a small (1-quart) saucepan, measure in oil (use all of it for even cooking) and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and set over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally as mixture comes barely to a simmer there should be just a hint of movement on the surface of the oil). Adjust the heat to very lowest possible setting to keep mixture at that very gentle simmer (bubbles will rise in the pot like mineral water).

Cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is a soft and pale golden (the color of light brown sugar), about 30 minutes (the slower the cooking, the sweeter the garlic).

Squeeze juice of 1 of the limes into the pan and simmer until most of the juice has evaporated or been absorbed into the garlic, about 5 minutes. Stir in chiles, then taste the mojo de ajo and add a little more salt to taste.

Keep pan over low heat, so garlic will be warm when shrimp are ready. Cut remaining limes into wedges, scoop into a serving bowl and set on the table.

To make shrimp:

Over medium-high heat, set a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet and spoon in 1-1/2 tablespoons of oil (but not the garlic) from the mojo. Add half of the
shrimp to the skillet, sprinkle generously with salt, then stir gently and continuously until shrimp are just cooked through, 3 or 4 minutes. Stir in
cilantro or parsley if desired.

Scoop cooked shrimp onto deep serving platter. Repeat steps for cooking shrimp with the remaining half and another 1-1/2 tablespoons of the garlicky oil.

When all the shrimp are cooked, use a slotted spoon to scoop out the warm bits of garlic and chiles from the pan, and douse them over shrimp.

Serve with lime wedges.
Working ahead: Since the mojo de ajo keeps for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator (the oil will become solid but will liquefy again at room temperature), it makes sense to cook a large amount.

You may have as much as 1/3 cup of the oil leftover — use it to saut? practically anything. Mojo in the refrigerator holds great potential for a quick wonderful meal. Heat cold mojo slowly before using.

For the best texture, cook shrimp immediately before serving. Or cook several hours ahead, douse with garlic mojo and serve at room temperature.