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Recipe by José Sanchez, executive chef, Point Loma Café.

I grew up in Mexico City and came to the U.S. in 1975. I came here looking for a better life and started working in a restaurant in San Diego as a dishwasher. But I got lucky and was only a dishwasher for two weeks. The head chef of the restaurant was from France, and he was very good. One day I asked if I could help him cut the beef and he looked at me and smiled. That was it. I worked with him for 11 years and he taught me everything I know.

Growing up, I didn’t help my family cook at all. I didn’t even know how to fry an egg when I started in the kitchen. But I found out I liked it. And everything they showed me I picked up right away. I guess I’m a fast learner. I still like to read recipes and collect cooking books. I love Latin fusion and Latin flavors. I usually play with these recipes and make my specials from them. I love Richard Sandoval’s food.

I took a few other jobs as assistant chef until I came to the Point Loma Café. I’ve been the executive chef here for 19 years. We work hard and I try to please the local guests with a continental menu and comfort food.

My wife is from El Salvador and sometimes she cooks Salvadoran food at home. I spend too much time in the kitchen experimenting at work, so I just cook normal food at home. I try to keep it simple. Nothing too complicated. My favorite dishes to cook are pastas with just a few ingredients. My daughter likes shrimp scampi, so I cook it for her whenever she is home. I also grill outside: chicken, fish, vegetables, very little steak.

I go back to Mexico every other year. I like to travel and we go to a lot of resorts. Always I like the nice beaches.

INGREDIENTS

(Serves 4)

  • 12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 7 tbsp cold butter, reserved
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tomato, diced
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley

HOW TO DO IT

In a large bowl, dredge shrimp in flour to lightly coat them. To a sauté pan over medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. When the butter is foamy, add the shrimp to the pan and sauté for 3 minutes or until the shrimp turn pink. Do not overcook, as the shrimp will be tough.

Remove the shrimp from the pan and keep warm. Pour out any excess butter and discard. Return the pan to medium heat and deglaze with white wine, scraping any brown bits. Cook the wine for 2 to 3 minutes and then add the lemon juice, cooking until the mixture is reduced by half. Stir in 4 tablespoons cold butter chunks until they melt into the wine and lemon-juice mixture. (The sauce won’t be thick.) Add the tomato and parsley and return the shrimp to the pan for 30 seconds. Add more butter if desired.

Serve the shrimp in a wrap, on top of rice, or on your favorite pasta.

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