Memorial Day, the official start of summer here in New England, demands a backyard barbecue. It’s time to drag the Weber out of the cellar and get your fire on!
While burgers and hot dogs usually kick off the summer grilling season, I have been known to get a little crazy and skewer up some shrimp. It’s a little luxe, takes minimal prep and guests go ga-ga. So, why not?
I usually make a play for the 13-15 count colossal, peeled and deveined shrimp in the freezer case and whip up a marinade the morning of the Q. One hour before serving, combine thawed and washed shrimp with the marinade in a big Ziploc bag and skewer them before grilling.
WARNING: If you do this step any earlier, the shrimp will “cook” in lime juice and you’ll end up with seviche!
Alternatively, if you have a large tin foil pan and more than enough marinade, you can skewer the shrimp first, then pour in the marinade. But I find with more than 2 pounds of shrimp, many of the little guys don’t get a good bath.
For the marinade, I typically use extra virgin olive oil, lime juice or lemon juice, lots of garlic, some fresh herbs, lemon or lime zest, salt, pepper and a minced jalapeno.
But last weekend when I cooked for a crowd, I played outside the box with the Thai hot sauce called sriracha — a paste of chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt –- so my shrimp would have a more exotic bite.
MARINADE FOR 2-4 LBS. OF COLOSSAL SHRIMP (13-15 count):
1 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 c. fresh lime juice (from 12-16 limes depending on the size)
2-3 T. lime zest, depending on your taste
10 garlic cloves, chopped
1-2 T. sriracha
¼ to ½ c. cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
2 t. salt
1 t. ground black pepper
Add all ingredients to a blender and whirr. Taste, then and add more heat, garlic, lime zest or salt if you prefer.
One hour before cooking, add the marinade to thawed shrimp in a large Ziploc bag or skewer the shrimp (don’t crowd!), place in a large tin foil fan and pour marinade over the skewers. Make sure each one gets a good bath! (If you go with the marinade-in-a-bag plan, skewer the shrimp from just before start of the tail end through fat part.)
With the grill on high, place shrimp skewers on the grill, being careful not to crowd them. Turn after one minute. The colossal shrimp cook fast – around 3 minutes total. They’ll be pink and ready for eating. If you think the shrimp could stand another minute on the grill, take them off. They will continue to cook on the platter.
I served this shrimp with jasmine rice with diced mango and scallions and roasted asparagus.
Now…. get grillin’!
This article also appears on The Foodsmith at lauraraposa.com.