Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Marinated Grilled Shrimp and Shishito Pepper Skewers

I think shrimp grilled over an open flame takes this briny seafood favorite to a rich, smoky depth that you just can’t get with other preparations. That said, keep a few things in mind for the best results:
  • Use big (very big) shrimp.
  • Pair the shrimp with an equally quick-cooking companion (like shishito peppers).
  • Grill the skewers on bricks—the best way to grill delicate food fast with no sticking.
Here’s a note about that (from Chicken Yakitori with Shiitakes and Scallions):

"Resting skewers of meat and vegetables on two bricks placed 9 to 10 inches apart allows them to grill at just the right height to get great char flavor without burning or sticking to the grate. You’ll need at least 12-inch skewers in order to have enough room for the food in the middle and space on each end to rest the skewers on the bricks.

You can use metal or very sturdy wood skewers (soaked in water 30 minutes) so that they don’t bend toward the fire with the weight of the food in the middle. To know how much room you’ll have for the food, wrap the bricks in foil and place them on a counter several inches apart. Lay your skewers across them and adjust the spacing so that at least an inch (1-1/2 inches, even better) is resting on each end."  

If you’re not familiar with shishito peppers, listen up. These small, mild, thin-skinned peppers are great for grilling or frying and eating whole. Don’t overcook because they’ll lose that tasty, little crisp bite, but a wonderful outer-char from the grill—mmmm, that’s good. 

Note: For this recipe, I removed the stems from the peppers to making skewering easier. If you’re grilling or frying without skewering, leave them whole and use the stems as little handles for devouring the peppers.

Serves 2 (easily doubled)

  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp dried red chile flakes
  • 12 large shrimp (12-15 count), peeled
  • 6 shishito peppers, stem ends removed
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • cold rice salad (or steamed white rice), for serving
Extra Large Shrimp
Shishito Peppers
Trimmed Shishito Peppers
  1. Combine the garlic, peanut oil, sesame oil, and chile flakes in a small bowl.
  2. Place the shrimp in a large, sealable plastic bag and the peppers in a small sealable plastic bag. Add 2/3 of the marinade to the shrimp and the remaining 1/3 to the peppers. Seal both bags and turn several times to coat. Refrigerate 2-4 hours.
Marinade for Shrimp and Peppers
Shrimp and Peppers in Marinade
  1. Light a grill for medium-high heat.
  2. Wrap 2 bricks tightly in aluminum foil. When the fire is ready, place the bricks on the grill grate, 9-10 inches apart (depending on the length of your skewers), with direct heat in between.
  3. Remove the shrimp and peppers from the marinade and thread, alternating pieces, onto 4 long skewers (soaked in water 30 minutes, if wood), leaving at least 1 inch free on each end. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Lay the skewers on the grill with the ends resting on the bricks and the meat and peppers over the fire. 
  5. Grill, turning once or twice, until lightly charred and just cooked cooked through, 4-6 minutes total, depending on the size of the shrimp.
Prepared Skewers
Skewers Beginning to Grill
Grilled Skewers
Serve the skewers over a cold rice salad or steamed white rice.

Marinated Grilled Shrimp and Shishito Pepper Skewers

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