Pepper and Salt Shrimp
Yield: 4 servings.

INGREDIENTS

• 1 lb/454 g raw headless, deveined, and shell-on shrimp (21–26 count per pound)
• 2 tablespoons cornstarch
• 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
• 1 dried red chili pepper, cut in half lengthwise
• 1 small jalapeno pepper, sliced
• 2½ tablespoons green onions, minced
• 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
• A pinch of kosher salt
• A pinch of white or black pepper
• 2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
• Salt, white pepper, and Sichuan peppercorn oil (page 162) to taste

MARINADE INGREDIENTS

• ½ teaspoon kosher salt
• 1½ teaspoons Shaohsing rice cooking wine or medium-dry Sherry
• 1 teaspoon homemade Sichuan peppercorn oil (page 162)

DIRECTIONS

1. Rinse the shrimp under cold running water, drain well, and pat them dry with paper towels. Mix the shrimp with the marinating ingredients. Make sure they are thoroughly combined. Allow the mixture to marinate for about 3–5 minutes.

2. Spread out the cornstarch on a medium-sized plate; coat the shrimp with cornstarch evenly. Toss and shake off excess cornstarch.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat in a wok or a 12-inch/30-cm non-stick sauté pan. When the pan is hot, carefully add the shrimp into pan. Quickly stir with a spatula to prevent the shrimp from sticking together. Sauté for about 1 minute or until shrimp are turning light orange pink in color, then transfer the shrimp onto a plate and set aside. Slightly clean the pan by removing leftover bits and pieces.

4. Heat the remaining one tablespoon of oil in the same pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the red chili pepper, jalapeno pepper, green onions, ginger, and garlic into pan. Sauté for about 45–60 seconds or until the mixture is fragrant. Place the shrimp back into pan; add 1 teaspoon sugar, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of white pepper. Quickly stir the mixture for a few seconds with a spatula.

5. Add Cognac or brandy, and sauté for a few seconds to allow the alcohol to evaporate. Turn off the stove.

6. Serve immediately. If desired, sprinkle chopped green onions on top of the dish for garnish. Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and Sichuan peppercorn oil.