Tue Oct 15, 2013
After tackling a mega-grilling project like Sunday Gravy, I like to balance things out with a much more simple dish—which this garlic-lime shrimp certainly is. There was a time not that long ago that my seafood aversion would keep me steering clear of such a dish, but I've found by introducing flavors I cannot resist into foods I may not like, they instantly become desirable. I've come to like a lot of seafood using this approach, but in all honesty, one of the most-loved of all crustaceans—shrimp—can still be a struggle for me. So to help me over that hump, I made these with a Tex-Mex influence that I knew I would fall for, and hopefully you will too.
It started with a marinade that used minimal ingredients, but delivered maximum flavor. This consisted of oil, a hefty portion of garlic, lime juice and zest for a light acidity and freshness, one whole jalapeno for heat, chili powder for an earthy touch, and salt. The lot was given a whirl in the blender until a cohesive marinade was born.
Since there is a fair amount of lime juice in the marinade, the marinating time needs to be short, otherwise the acid will begin to "cook" the shrimp too much. So I let the shrimp sit in the marinade for only the amount of time it took me to prep the fire, which is about thirty minutes.
Once the coals were going and burning hot, I threw the shrimp on the grill. I think one reason I haven't loved shrimp is because too often they're overcooked, resulting in a dense and chewy texture that I'm just not into. So I was careful here to grill them until they were almost cooked through, knowing that if I pulled them off when still a little translucent in the center, carryover cooking would get them to their final perfect state.
The flavor wasn't everything I was hoping for—the jalapeno didn't pack the fiery punch I was expecting, but it did lend a nice fruitiness that complemented the lime and garlic combo well. This was good enough though to coax me into throughly enjoying the shrimp, and it wasn't so heavy-handed that it masked the shrimp's natural flavor, which I'm very slowly learning to like. I hope there will be a day that I'd be happy to order a plate of shrimp for dinner—I'm just about there on deliciously sweet crab—but for now, these little victories in squashing an embarrassing aversion are good enough progress for me.
- Prep Time:
- 10 Minutes
- Inactive Time:
- 30 Minutes
- Cook Time:
- 5 Minutes
- Total Time:
- 45 Minutes
- 4 servings
- For the Marinade
- 1 small jalapeno pepper, stemmed and seeded
- 1/4 cup fresh juice from 3 to 4 limes
- 4 medium cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon zest from 1 lime
- 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and rinsed
- To make the marinade: Place jalapeno, lime juice, garlic, olive oil, chili powder, salt, and lime zest in jar of a blender. Puree until garlic and jalapeno are completely chopped.
- Place shrimp in a large resealable plastic bag. Pour in marinade and toss to combine. Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes while preparing the grill.
- Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Grill shrimp over high heat until just cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove to a platter and serve immediately.