A 4th of July Menu, Part I: Jalapeno Shrimp Skewers
JALAPENO SHRIMP SKEWERS
In anticipation of July 4th, I’ve put together an all-star Independence Day menu–it’s what we’ll be grilling this summer. Not that you need an excuse to break out the grill: If you’re like many of our readers, every day is grill day, 24-7-365. I’ll be rolling out the recipes on Tuesdays and Thursdays over the next two weeks, so check back in for the next installments.
And now (drum roll, please) your star-studded, All-American Independence Day menu:
Green Lightning (aka Jalapeno Shrimp Skewers)
Lone Star Beef Ribs with Bare Bones Barbecue Sauce
Cole Slaw the Joe’s Stone Crab Way
CRed, White, and Blue Potato Salad
We’ll warm up the grill with a nice dose of Southwestern heat. It takes only about ten minutes to prepare these colorful shrimp kebabs, but the flavor is electrifying.
GREEN LIGHTNING (AKA JALAPENO SHRIMP SKEWERS)
The first jolt comes from jalapeno peppers–lots of them–and it’s followed by aromatic blasts of cilantro, scallion, and cumin, flavorings that are typical of grilling in the Southwest. You’ve probably noticed that shrimp have a tendency to dry out when grilled, even after they’ve been marinated. To remedy this problem, I baste the shrimp with garlic butter as they grill. Shrimp also have a tendency to slide around on a skewer, so I double skewer mine. (Sounds just like what it is–you insert two skewers instead of one.) Serves 6
30 minutes for marinating the shrimp
2 1/2 pounds jumbo shrimp
1 bunch cilantro, rinsed, stemmed, and coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
4 to 8 jalapeno peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped (for hotter shrimp, leave the seeds in)
1 bunch scallions, both white and green parts, trimmed and coarsely chopped
5 cloves garlic, 3 cloves coarsely chopped, 2 cloves minced
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt (kosher or sea)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter
Lime wedges, for serving
YOU’LL ALSO NEED:
About 12 long (10- to 12-inch) metal or bamboo skewers
1. Rinse the shrimp under cold running water and then drain and blot them dry with paper towels. Peel and devein the shrimp. Thread the shrimp onto 2 parallel skewers, using 2 skewers for each kebab. Arrange the kebabs in a nonreactive baking dish.
2. Set aside 3 tablespoons of the cilantro for the garlic cilantro butter. Place the remaining cilantro, the jalapenos, scallions, chopped garlic, salt, black pepper, and cumin in a food processor and finely chop. With the machine running, add the olive oil and lime juice through the feed tube and puree to a bright green paste. Pour this marinade over the shrimp and let them marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for 30 minutes, turning the kebabs several times so they marinate evenly.
3. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and the 3 tablespoons of reserved cilantro and cook until the garlic is fragrant and sizzling, but not browned, about 2 minutes. Keep the garlic cilantro butter warm until ready to use.
4. Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.
5. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Drain the marinade from the shrimp kebabs and discard the marinade. Place the shrimp kebabs on the hot grate and grill until just cooked through, 1 to 3 minutes per side, basting with the garlic cilantro butter. When done, the shrimp will turn pinkish white and feel firm to the touch. Transfer the grilled shrimp to a platter or plates, pour any of the remaining butter sauce over them, and serve with the lime wedges.
(To be continued. . . .)