Piri-piri has been a staple of the Portuguese table since the 14th century when Columbus brought the fiery pepper back to the continent in 1493, then it was the Portuguese who carried it throughout the globe. This sauce, found everywhere in Portugal and several of its former colonies, specifically Angola and Mozambique – is a must-slather on any kind of poultry, pork ribs, and shrimp.
Now, fresh piri-piri hot peppers are not available stateside. Stepping in for piri-piri peppers are Thai bird, red jalapeño, santaka, arbol, cayenne, or Tabasco, depending on season as well as personal heat preference and tolerance, so experiment with the amounts so that you get the sauce you deserve.
4-8 fresh, hot chiles, depending on the heat
2 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
Pinch of salt
½-1 cup extra virgin olive oil, depending on desired consistency
1. Coarsely chop the peppers and discard stems.
2. Place the chiles and their seeds, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and as much of the oil as you wish in a food processor fitted with a metal blade and purée. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate for several days before using.
Now that you have the sauce, make it shine with perfectly Grilled Shrimp:
1. To prepare grilled shrimp, peel shrimp 3 pounds, leaving tails intact. Combine shrimp with 1/2 of your prepared Piri-Piri sauce, seal and marinate in refrigerator for up to 3 hours, turning bag occasionally. Soak 6-8 (12-inch) skewers in water and set aside.
2. Prepare grill.
3. Remove shrimp from bag. Thread shrimp onto each of the skewers.
4. Place skewers on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Shrimp cook quickly so keep and eye and grill for 4 to 8 minutes, depending on the size, when half way done turn and baste frequently with reserved marinade.
5. Remove shrimp from skewers; toss with remaining 1/4 cup piri-piri sauce.
Note: Store any remaining piri-piri sauce in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to a month.