Fire up the grill for U.S or Mexican Gulf shrimp

The summerlong season for fresh Pacific pink shrimp has become even more precious over the past decade or so.

That’s the approximate time span since I began a rigorous refusal of any and all farm-raised shrimp. Exposés on the conditions in Southeast Asia’s shrimp-shelling sheds only reinforce my resolve that shrimp raised in “freshwater” ponds — essentially filled with effluent and doused with antibiotics — are not a substance I want in my mouth. Even if consumers were still in the dark about seafood-farming practices, the products’ flavor (or lack of it) gives away their unwholesome origins.

Absent pink shrimp, a wild-caught, sustainable seafood, I’ve recently come around to larger species since Medford’s Food 4 Less started stocking Mexican “brown” shrimp in the frozen section. Fished from the Gulf, these ones processed in Mexico (as opposed to those I’ve seen from Gulf states of the U.S.) come peeled and deveined, making them a quick fix on weeknights or feasible for a crowd.

I’ve gotten raves from my family for coconut-breaded shrimp and the classic garlicky, buttery scampi preparation. A new crop of juicy garlic from my garden is the ideal accompaniment, as suggested in this recipe for grilled shrimp marinated in olive oil, an alternative to butter that makes shellfish a low-fat protein option. Try it for the holiday weekend with bread salad, courtesy of the Detroit Free Press, or serve the shrimp over pasta.

Tribune News Service photo

Grilled Shrimp With Vegetable Bread Salad

1 1/2 pounds fresh or frozen extra-large shrimp

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley, plus 2 tablespoons snipped, divided

1/3 cup olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons, divided

1/2 whole grain baguette

1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half

1/2 cup halved Kalamata olives

1/2 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

Thaw the shrimp, if frozen. Soak 6-inch wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes

Peel and devein shrimp, as needed, leaving tails intact if desired. Rinse shrimp and pat them dry. Thread 3 shrimp on each skewer, leaving ¼ inch between them. Place shrimp skewers on a sided baking sheet or in a pan.

In a small bowl, stir together the lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons parsley and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Brush all over shrimp. Let shrimp sit for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Meanwhile, prepare bread salad. Cut the baguette into 1/2-inch cubes and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Place in oven until lightly browned and toasted, for about 15 minutes.

Place bread cubes in a bowl, add the tomatoes, olives, red onion and 1/3 cup parsley. Drizzle with the vinegar and 1/3 cup olive oil. Toss to coat. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Preheat grill to medium. Grill shrimp for about 5 to 8 minutes or until shrimp are opaque, turning once. Remove from grill.

Serve shrimp on a platter with bread salad on the side. Makes 4 servings.

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