This is a sophisticated, yet simple to prepare, guacamole. Once it is assembled, it feels very light and bright. Not your traditional guacamole by any means, but I’m sure once you give it a try, it will become one of your favorites. Its flavors come from a popular Mexican dish, called camarones al ajillo, served along the Pacific Coast.
You can offer it appetizer-style on a serving platter with tortilla chips for people to dip in. Or it can be passed around as hors d’oeuvres on top of round tortilla chips, or crackers, if you are going fancy. If having a sit-down dinner, you can serve it in individual bowls for people to have their elegantly dressed appetizer.
Leave some of the already cooked shrimp seasoned with garlic, chile de árbol and orange zest on the side to garnish, as I recommend in the recipe below. The flavors of the seasoned shrimp welcome the freshness of the chopped fennel and the buttery avocados. The juicy orange sections, which act as an edible and juicy garnish, make this dish even more succulent than it sounds.
Tip: To cut the orange supremes, hold the orange straight onto a cutting board, slice off the orange peel including the white pith going down the curve of the fruit. Holding the peeled orange over a bowl, cut each segment, free of skin, with a small knife, in between sections.
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 chiles de árbol, stemmed and seeded, thinly sliced
1 pound medium sized shrimp, fresh or thawed, shells/tails removed, cut into 1” pieces
1 teaspoon orange zest
½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt, divided, or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 ripe avocados, halved, pitted, meat scooped out and diced
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup chopped fennel bulb
One orange, peeled and cut into orange segments also called supremes
Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet set over medium-high heat. Once it is hot but not smoking, add the garlic, cook for 20 to 30 seconds, stirring constantly, until fragrant and beginning to brown. Add the chile de árbol and cook for 20 to 30 seconds, stirring constantly, until it starts to crisp.
Incorporate the cut up shrimp, sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt, freshly ground black pepper to taste, and orange zest, and cook for only a minute or so, flipping the pieces over as they brown lightly. Remove from the heat and scrape onto a mixing bowl.
In a medium bowl, mash the avocado along with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and the orange juice and lime juice. Reserve 1 cup of the cooked shrimp for garnish, and incorporate the rest along with the fennel into the avocado mix, combine well. Scrape onto a serving bowl, garnish with the reserved cooked shrimp and the orange supremes.