During a recent visit to Captiva Island, we checked out the local Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille. The restaurant is owned by Randy Wayne White, an author who specializes crime fiction novels set in Southwest Florida.
We sat at Doc Ford’s bar and were served by Steve, who was not only an awesome bartender but also an encyclopedia of local knowledge. He told us everything we needed to know about visiting the Captiva/Sanibel/Ft. Myer’s area, but the best tip he gave us was to make sure that we tried Doc Ford’s Yucatan Shrimp. He did not steer us wrong! These jumbo shrimp are steamed with the shell on, but the real star here is the sauce—a garlic and butter with a spicy chili kick. Steve told us that the key to eating the shrimp is to suck off the sauce from each shrimp before you try to peel them. If not, they’re slippery little suckers! We took his advice, and may have looked silly doing it, but we didn’t care. It was too delicious.
We chowed down on a bowl of the Yucatan Shrimp and after they were gone, we enjoyed dipping the toasted bread into the remaining butter sauce. After devouring the shrimp, instead of ordering an entree we opted to follow up with the Sanibel Stoop rum drink and the local “High 5” IPA from Ft. Myers Brewery. In Steve’s words, “There’s a pork chop in every glass!”
To our delight, Steve hooked us up with the actual recipe for Doc Ford’s Yucatan Shrimp, so here it is. The sauce is delicious on shrimp but also great on any grilled seafood. And it would only be appropriate to enjoy with a rum drink in hand!
Doc Ford’s Yucatan Shrimp Recipe
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 large clove garlic, minced
Juice of two large limes
1 Tbsp. Indonesian sambal (sambal oelek)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound large, fresh, shell-on shrimp
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
In a small saucepan set over low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add remaining 3 tablespoons butter to saucepan. When it melts, stir in the lime juice, chili sauce, salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and allow the sauce to rest. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes or until they are just firm and pink. Do not overcook. Drain into a colander and shake over the sink to remove excess moisture. In a large bowl, toss the shrimp and chili sauce. Sprinkle with cilantro and toss again.