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Re-creating a restaurant dish is something many people would like to do, but it can be tricky.

One reason is that a lot of restaurants don't want to give up their secrets. But sometimes, you get lucky.

Today's Yucatan Shrimp is one such dish. While on a trip to Fort Myers Beach, Fla., our group shared this dish at Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille. For those who know the area, this Doc Ford's restaurant sits just under the Mantanzas Pass Bridge that connects San Carlos Island to the mainland. It's near the shrimp docks, so it's no surprise the menu has several shrimp dishes.

At Doc Ford's, Yucatan Shrimp is described on the menu as shrimp in a dressing of real butter, mild Colombian chiles, fresh cilantro and key lime juice.

This dish, of course, was delicious.

I called the Fort Myers Beach restaurant and spoke with executive chef Greg Nelson, who created the dish. He told me that people frequently request the recipe for Yucatan Shrimp.

"It's the sauce that totally makes the dish," Nelson says. "You can put [the sauce] on pasta, you can serve it with chicken or on chicken tenders. It's good on toast in the morning."

The secret is in the sauce, not in how you cook the shrimp, says Nelson, who suggests using wild-caught shrimp and cooking them with their shells on.

"There's a lot of flavor in the shell," Nelson says.

It's also a dish where dipping a piece of crusty baguette in the juicy and buttery broth is a must. You will use every last piece of bread to soak up the sauce. I guarantee it.

Serve this dish as an appetizer to share or as a main dish over rice or pasta.

Yucatan Shrimp

1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided use

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste) or to taste

Salt to taste

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

10 to 12 shell-on large shrimp

1/4 to 1/2 baguette, sliced

Put a large pot of water on and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet melt half of the butter over low to medium heat. Add the garlic and saute about 1 minute or until it just begins to brown. Reduce heat slightly and add the remaining butter. Don't let it melt completely; it should look foamy. Stir in the lime juice. Add about half of the sambal oelek, salt and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more of the sambal oelek until desired spiciness is reached The sauce should have a spicy kick to it.

Add the shrimp to the boiling water and cook about 3 to 4 minutes, just until the shells are pink and the flesh is opaque.

Drain the shrimp and transfer to a serving bowl. Pour the butter sauce over the shrimp. Serve with crusty bread slices for dipping.

Note: Look for sambal oelek in the the Asian section of most grocery stores. Be sure to buy the paste that does not have garlic.

Adapted from Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille, Fort Myers Beach, Fla.

Food on 12/06/2017

Print Headline: Doc Ford's Yucatan Shrimp: The sauce makes the dish

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