Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Grilled Garlic Lime Shrimp

Florida apparently missed the "winter" memo, so we still have excellent grilling weather. I'm trying to put it to good use to give you all some recipes and some jealousy. For those of you who have access to a grill, this is an excellent way to make a gourmet meal in record time (and also record clean-up!), but you can make this dish in the stove or in a saute pan just as easily (bake at 350 for ten minutes or so, or saute in olive oil on medium high heat for three to four minutes per side). The grill just gives it this woodsy delicious taste and a great crisp texture. The flavors are also very simple but pack a lot of punch, and really, this is one of my favorite ways to prepare shrimp.

Total prep time: 45 minutes (including marinating time, but not including time to de-shell and de-vein shrimp if you purchase them that way)

Total cook time: 8 minutes

What you will need:

1 lb de-shelled, de-veined (butterflied) shrimp (I typically buy 21/25ers--you want to get them big enough that they'll slide on a skewer)
1 lime (there are two pictured, I know)
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
salt, pepper and red chili flakes to taste

Note: I made these shrimp on skewers, but if you have a grill basket, you make them just as easily

First step is to peel and de-vein your shrimp. Some people prefer to leave the tails on, I personally hate it. Whatever floats your boat. If you bought your shrimp already prepped, then skip this step, obviously. Regardless, make sure you rinse your shrimp in cold water and let them drain in a colander in the sink while you do the rest of the prep work.

Next you want to make your marinade. In a glass bowl large enough to hold all of your shrimp, you will zest/grate the peel of one lime. 

Zesting is somewhat of a pain, but it's also one of those therapeutic kitchen activities after a long day of work. I use visualization techniques to get some particularly aggressive zesting going on.

There. Once you have that, slice your lime in half and squeeze (or ream, as depicted below) the juice from both half of the limes into your glass dish along with your zest.

The next step is to throw the rest of your marinade ingredients in and mix well with a fork. Taste the marinade to see if you like how it tastes...remember, this is all about you! It won't do anyone a lick of good if you follow my measurements exactly and it's not to your particular flavor palette. 

Alright, now that we have the marinade taken care of, we turn our attention back to the shrimp. If they're still wet, pat them dry a little bit with a paper towel, then dump the shrimp into the marinade. I know we all wonder why we dry the shrimp before immediately putting them into the marinade, but if you'll notice, water wasn't one of the ingredients in the marinade. Water and oil don't mix. If they are wet, they will repel the marinade and it won't absorb as much and then you have bland shrimp. Capice?

Let the little guys sit on the counter and marinate for about 30 minutes. You don't want to go too much longer than that because the acid in the lime juice will actually start to break down the proteins in the shrimp, which are pretty delicate, and will alter the texture of the shrimp. Now is a good time to make a side dish if you want, or to have a glass of wine.

About ten to fifteen minutes before you want to start cooking the shrimp, start pre-heating your grill. J is in charge of the grilling side of this operation, and he advised me that he turns the grill on medium to start the pre-heating process, then turns it up to medium high a minute or so before he actually cooks the shrimp. You'll also want to soak your skewers in water to keep them from catching fire on the grill.

After the shrimp have marinated, you'll stick them on the skewers, like so:

Get all your shrimp on skewers (I try and make sure I have an even number of skewers and shrimp since the most bitter fights in our household are about who got the extra shrimp), and then take them to the grill. Place them like so, over medium-high heat:

J says that at this point, the shrimp cook pretty fast so you have to watch them. He closes the lid of the grill, but after about three minutes on one side, it's time to flip them.

Sorry for the blur, that was an action shot as J was flipping. They pink up pretty quickly, and for the love of Pete, do not overcook your shrimp. Ruins all our hard work at marinating and zesting and what have you.

Cook for another three minutes or so on the second side and remove from the grill. They should not be translucent anymore, but still tender to the touch with some lovely grill marks on them.

Simple, no? Just serve, and enjoy!

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