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I have been trying to take advantage of the gorgeous weather we have been having to get my outside all summerfied so I haven’t been hanging out in my kitchen all that much. Fast & easy has been the name of the game and dinner has been eaten on the front porch after dark more often than not. I’m not complaining, I got a all kinds of herbs in their pots on the porch along with all sorts of flowers, it is my little slice of heaven and I cannot wait for the herbs to blow up so I can start picking them. My oven is calling me, though, I have the ingredients for a delicious pie just waiting  for me in the fridge, but in the mean time I wanted to share this awesomeness I tossed together after a day spent in the gardens mulching!

I went to the store with no defined idea of what I wanted, I just knew what I didn’t want – beef or pork – I wanted light and a lot of vegetables. My local Shop & Save has a Wholeys counter so I went to investigate & found some nice looking shrimp. Dinner = found.

Shrimp have become less fancy-schmancy over the years; their price point is reasonable compared to other shellfish, they are sweet with a pretty neutral flavor making them wicked versatile, cook fast and are easy to find. Shrimp are either fished for, a huge industry in the south, or farmed, mainly in Asia and South America. There is a difference in flavor from the wild caught and the farmed, the wild caught taste better but the farmed are generally cheaper.

We usually see them either IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) or Block frozen (self explanatory). We live in a land locked state. If you see shrimp, especially with no heads, you can pretty much guarantee they were frozen at some point even if they are thawed in a store case.  You can purchase them, most commonly, cooked – shell on, shell off/tail on, or raw – shell on, peeled & deveined, partially peeled & deveined. The price definitely reflects how much work has been done to the little creature before you get them. I do not buy cooked shrimp ever for anything. They are generally flavorless, overcooked and rubbery. Cooking shrimp is not so hard or time consuming that buying it precooked saves so much time it is worth the reduction in quality. I usually go for the raw shell on or the partially p&d, I use the shells very often to flavor up sauces and stuff so I want them. I am a good peel & deveiner, I should be after the number I have done over the years, but if you’re a rookie get the partially peeled & deveined; they are deveined so the shell is super easy to remove and the gross part is done and def worth the little bit extra.

Shrimp & scallops both are sold sized. The size is the approximate number that come in a pound. 16/20 and 21/25 are the 2 sizes used most commonly commercially. The 21/25 are usually a tad cheaper and not all that smaller when you are talking about a shrimp with the shell on. If you are buying a pre-peeled product stick with the 21/25 – that is the approximate size of a peeled 16/20 shrimp. As to how many to buy? I usually start at 10 per person and adjust from there based on the specifics.

A few words on shrimp tails ~ Take. Them. Off. Nothing in this world is quite as irritating as when you are out to eat and you have to stick your fingers all through your food to remove shrimp tails because someone in the kitchen thought they looked nice or whatever rational is used when they are left in place. There are exceptions, all detmined by how the final product is going to be served, but generally when they are used as an ingredient in a bigger dish take them off. In this dish take them off.

You aren’t going to want to let this marinate too long, all that citrus will start to cook the shrimp after an hour or so, but the marinade permeates the shrimp fast. I skewered these after they had marinated so everything was soaking evenly. I served the grilled skewers with a couscous salad loaded with fresh vegetables that I am posting tomorrow. The cumin really ties the room together – so to speak – so don’t skip it. Also crushed red pepper flakes or some chili would also be awesome tossed in for some heat, but as I’ve mentioned I’m a total sissy.

This marinade would be good on poultry or any other seafood, too, but it is high acid, so only marinade for less than 2 hours to prevent cooking. It is out of this world with salmon!

Citrus Marinated Shrimp Skewers makes about a cup of marinade, roughly

  • juice & zest of 1 lemon
  • juice & zest of 1 lime
  • 1 Tbsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Honey
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Fresh Herbs – (I used parsley, chives & cilantro)
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Coriander

Soak a few bamboo skewers in water to soften. Prepare your shrimp ~ peel and devein, rinse and pat dry. You don’t need the shells for this recipe, but I put them in a baggie in the freezer for later use – never know when you will want an emergency seafood stock.

All the marinade ingredients get mixed together in a bowl, add the shrimp and toss to coat. Put in the fridge and let set for about an hour, mix it up if you want to, I do but I like to mess with shit. While the shrimp was getting delicious I made the couscous salad.

Preheat the grill medium high. Skewer the shrimp on the soaked skewers. I like to make sure they are touching but I don’t smash them on there. Like so…

Make sure the grill is HOT and cook for about 3-4 minutes per side. The oil in the marinade should be enough to prevent sticking if the grill is hot. The shrimp are cooked when they feel firm to the touch and are opaque white through. Don’t over cook them. Please? Seriously, they don’t need more than 4 minutes per side.

So bright with all the citrus and herbs but that little hint of smokey cumin with the grill char – PERFECT. I used the marinade on a piece of Sockeye Salmon for Hart that night, too, he devoured it. It didn’t really need a sauce but I wanted something to dip in so I mixed up some plain greek yogurt with the Spring Garlic Pesto. So. Good.

Loaded Vegetable Couscous Salad that was awesome with this AND for lunch the next day coming tomorrow. Happy Grilling!

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