Sunday, September 19, 2010

Shrimp Kabobs and Grilled Lime


Sometimes the freshest shrimp really are the frozen shrimp straight from the grocery freezer (especially when you are in the mountains of Utah!). Shrimp is one of the easiest and fastest proteins to cook. Since it's a perfect fall day (the colors are changing...see?!) to grill, we'll make Shrimp Kabobs.
I like using inexpensive bamboo chopsticks ($1 for 20 pieces, 10 pairs) as disposable skewers. This is the standard recipe I give out over the phone when I get a frantic call/text that goes something like this: "I have frozen shrimp! What do I do with it?!" Use the same procedure for scallops or fish kabobs, best on halibut cut into cubes.
  *AWESOME (EASY) SHRIMP KABOBS*
20-24 medium-large shrimp, deshelled
6 skewers (I like cheap pointy bamboo chopsticks)
2 large juicy limes, cut into quarters
granulated garlic powder, enough to coat both sides, about 2 tablespoon
sea salt and fresh ground pepper, enough to coat both sides
olive oil, enough to coat the shrimp, about 2 tablespoons
Do it:
(1) Prepare your shrimp: thaw, peel, devein. (I can't stand tail-on shrimp. Peel all of it off!) Rinse and pat dry on paper towels.
(2) Using a skewer, in this case bamboo chopsticks, thread the shrimp onto the chopstick. Thread once through the tail end and once again through the thick end, TWICE, so that the shrimp will stay put on the skewer when you grill.
(3) Add Salt, Pepper and Granulated Garlic to both sides. Sprinkle the salt and pepper evenly. Note: easy on salt (remember: you can always add more salt at the end, but can't fix a way-too-salty dish!).
(4) Olive Oil to both sides. Let the kabobs marinate for at least 15 minutes room temperature. Even better, let them marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes. (Don't marinate them overnight. Too much salt for too long may result in hard dry shrimp.)

Sea salt, fresh course grind black pepper, granulated garlic...and fresh limes. No need for measurement spoons. The shakers and grinders will do just fine!

Frozen shrimp must thaw. And they thaw EASILY. If you are going to cook them immediately, run warm water through the shrimp. They will soften quickly.

Drain and peel off the shells. In this case, the shrimp have already been deveined with the shell on and minimally butterflied (cut down the length backside just deep enough to get the black vein out). So, we save on the step of deveining.  

I keep cheap bamboo chopsticks stocked in the kitchen for skewers. Make sure to buy the chopsticks with a pointy tip for easy piercing! (Make sure they are bamboo and not plastic!)

Add sea salt and black pepper to both sides to marinate. Sprinkle enough to evenly cover but don't overdo it.
Shake some granulated garlic to both sides.

Finally, coat both sides of the skewers with a generous amount of olive oil. Let the kabobs sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes or until the grill heats up.

Cut some limes into quarters.

In case you are following the pictures, I ended up taking the limes off the skewers. Originally, without noticing that the shrimp were much smaller than the lime wedges, I stuck the limes to the ends (pictured below). When I started grilling, I noticed the shrimp nearest to the limes were not touching the grill grates. Ugh! Yes, the limes looked pretty cute on the skewers, but (shoot!) it just didn't work. Every item on the skewer should be the same thickness (thus, same cooking time) for even heating. Ergo, everything on the skewer should be touching the grate. (If my shrimp were bigger, like U-10s, the the limes would have worked!)

Can you tell that the limes were lifting the shrimp and those shrimp didn't get grill marks (pic below)?  Anyway, I ended up sliding the the limes off the chopsticks with tongs and a fork, leaving the limes grilling sans skewer. The juice of grilled limes is deliciously sour. Yum!

When the bottom side is cooked (barely orange), turn over the skewers. Don't overcook or they will be hard and not so delicious. Use tongs to transfer the grilled shrimp skewers to a serving dish. Grab all the grilled lime wedges and serve on the same dish.

Grilled lime wedges are the BEST. Make sure to squeeze the grilled lime juice onto the shrimp before eating! To spice it up, dash some dried crushed red peppers. 

FYI: Shrimp (along with clams and oysters) contain the lowest levels of mercury (so low that it is not normally detected) among fish. Larger, older, predatory fish contain high levels of mercury and contamination, like Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel, Golden Snapper and Grouper.

Song of the moment: Plastic Bertrand, "Ca Plane Pour Moi" from Houston Davidson's mixtape.

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