Shrimp on the Barbie

Grilling America's favorite seafood
By Dita Rago

Grilling shrimp is a traditional way to enjoy the popular crustacean in the summer. With so many variations on sauces and ingredients, this coastal feast can be served sweet, spicy, or simply with lemon and butter.

Placing shrimp on skewers creates a fun-to-eat meal with no utensils. Arranging the shrimp and ingredients on the skewers can be part of the feast. When using wood skewers, remember to soak them for about 30 minutes in cold water first. Soaking helps prevent them from burning. Using two skewers at a time allows the food to lie flat on the grill.

Peppers, onions, and even pineapple are flavorful and colorful additions. Marinades of (just about any flavor) will turn shrimp up a notch. It only needs to marinate for 15 to 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Quick tip: Shrimp can marinate while the grill is heating.

Here is a good estimate on buying shrimp for 6 people (about 2 pounds):

24 jumbo fresh shrimp (or) 30 large fresh shrimp
If buying for 4, about 1-1/2 pounds

Let's Spice it Up:

Shrimp Saté with Peanut Sauce

24 jumbo fresh shrimp, tails intact
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
4 garlic cloves, quartered
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup lite soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons honey
1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
Garnish, fresh cilantro and lemon wedges
Soak 6-inch skewers in cold water for about 30 minutes.

Peel shrimp, leaving tails intact, and devein; set aside. Combine ginger and next 9 ingredients in a food processor. Process until well blended, stopping to scrape down sides.

Thread 2 shrimp onto each of 12 skewers. Measure ¼ cup peanut sauce, and brush on shrimp. Reserve remaining sauce.

Grill shrimp, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350º to 400º) 3 minutes on each side or until shrimp turn pink. Serve with reserved sauce. Garnish, if desired. Makes 6 servings.

How Sweet:

Tequila Shrimp and Citrus

1 ½ pounds large fresh shrimp
¼ cup tequila
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
½ teaspoon salt
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 orange, cut into ½-inch wedges
1 lime, cut into ½-inch wedges Soak 8 (10- to 12-inch) skewers for about 30 minutes. Peel and devein shrimp. Stir together tequila and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add shrimp: cover and chill 30 minutes.

Alternately thread shrimp, bell pepper, and orange and lime wedges onto skewers.

Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350º to 400º) 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until pink and done. Makes 4 servings.

Sweet and Spicy Treat:

Shrimp Skewers with Curried Mango Sauce

30 large fresh shrimp
2 to 3 teaspoons chili powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Curried Mango Sauce
Garnish, lime wedges Soak 6 (10-inch) skewers in water for about 30 minutes. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails intact.

Toss together shrimp, chili powder, salt, and olive oil in a large bowl. Thread 5 shrimp onto each of 6 skewers, bending each shrimp to pass through skewer twice.

Grill shrimp, without grill lid, over high heat (400º to 500º) 4 to 5 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink, turning once. Serve warm with Curried Mango Sauce. Garnish, if desired. Makes 6 servings.

Curried Mango Sauce

1 medium mango, roughly chopped
1/3 cup peeled and chopped English cucumber
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper Process all ingredients in a blender until smooth, stopping once to scrape down sides. Makes 1 cup.