Pepper Shrimp with Cayenne Oil

Danielle Leoni

The Breadfruit & Rum Bar, Phoenix


Cayenne Oil:

  • 4 cups canola oil
  • 3/4 cup cayenne

Pepper Shrimp:

  • 6 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/3 cup minced onion
  • 2 habanero peppers, including seeds, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon ground celery seed
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne oil 
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups lime juice
  • Zest of 2 limes for garnish


Make the cayenne oil: in a food processor, combine the oil with the cayenne. Let run for 5 minutes, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Store in a squeeze bottle.

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, onion, habanero, and thyme. In another small bowl, make the seasoning mix by combining the cayenne, salt, pepper, allspice, celery seed, coriander, cumin, mustard seed, and oregano. Mix well.

In a large skillet, heat the cayenne oil. When it starts to shimmer, add the garlic and onion mixture. Sauté until fragrant. Add the seasoning mix and stir for 1 minute. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook until they start to lose their translucence. Add the vinegar, lime juice, and 1 1/2 tablespoons water and cook until pink.

Garnish with lime zest serve immediately.


4 to 6 servings