Sometimes, you just want a delicious shrimp meal that's quick to cook and easy to clean up. This is a great recipe you can make any day that's so simple you won't want to make shrimp any other way. This recipe uses simple ingredients that are easy to find in most grocery stores. Plus, it's a great way to add a little tropical flavor to your family dinner any time of year.
Grilled Shrimp Skewers and Plantain Chips
Shrimp are one of our favorite shellfish to make. They are sweet and delicious, cook quickly, and they're easy to find no matter where you live. For this recipe, we are going to use fresh, whole, head-on shrimp, but if all you can find in your grocery store is frozen large shrimp, they will work just as well. Just be sure to buy large shrimp, 31-40 per pound or larger.
Preparing Whole Shrimp
Lots of people are freaked out by whole shrimp with the heads on. They can be one of the more curious things to eat, and whole, head-on shrimp can be more difficult to find than peeled and deveined frozen shrimp. But just follow our simple instructions and you'll have more than just delicious shrimp, you'll have everything you need to make a fantastic stock.
First things first, make sure your whole shrimp are defrosted, but at refrigerator temperatures. You don't want shrimp to get warm because they will develop bacteria that can make you sick. Try and avoid buying shrimp that smells fishy. It should be fairly neutral smelling or even slightly sweet. Fishy smelling shrimp is an indication the shrimp has began to go bad.
How to Clean Whole Shrimp
The first thing you need to do is to remove the head. Grasp the head in one hand and the body in the other, just below the head. With a slight twisting and pulling motion, the head simply pops off. Put the heads to the side. The next step is to use a sharp knife or a pair of scissors to cut the shell and devein the shrimp. Simply take the body from where the head was removed and cut directly down the middle of the back through the shell to the last segment before the tail.
Next, grasp the shrimp by the legs toward the head side and squeeze while pulling down. The meaty part of the shrimp will slip out of the shell. Pinch the tail while gently pushing the meat and the tail will slip off with the legs and shell attached. Toss the shells in with the heads you held off earlier.
Many people find the vein to be distasteful, though it is edible once cooked. It's the black line along the back of the shrimp, and you can pick it out with your fingers or use the tip of a serrated knife to slip it free. Rinse the shrimp in cold water to make sure it's all clean.
Two Secrets about Shrimp
Here is the best secret you'll ever learn to make good tasting shellfish or seafood, especially when you're dealing with previously frozen fish. Put the shrimp in a bowl and add milk to cover. The milk binds with the bacteria that causes fishy odors, leaving your fish tasting clean. Rinse in cold water after 15 minutes until the water runs clear. This simple trick will give you clean tasting fish and shellfish.
Now, to deal with the heads and shells. Get out your favorite stockpot and put the heads and shells in. Add enough water to barely cover and put the pot on the stove on high. Let it boil for about twenty minutes, then strain the shells and heads from the broth. What you've got is a delicious shellfish broth you can use to make ramen noodles or add flavor to other seafood or Asian-inspired dishes. You can freeze this broth or keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks in a glass jar.
Cooking the Shrimp
Grab a deep cast-iron skillet big enough for all the shrimp. Put a small amount of water in the pan, about 1/4-inch deep, and put the skillet on high heat on the stove. Add the shrimp to the pan, but don't go anywhere. You're going to want to keep the shrimp moving. All you want to do is get the shrimp completely pink and opaque white on the outside, then put the shrimp in a strainer to drain. This will take five minutes or less. Drain the skillet and wipe clean.
Cooking the Plantains
You've probably seen plantains hanging out in the tropical food section of your grocery store. They look like weird, fat bananas, which they are. Plantains are starchy like a potato, but a little sweet, too. Unlike bananas, plantains are ripe when they are mostly black and tender like a peach.
Peel your plantains and then slice into one-quarter-inch slices. Put your cast-iron skillet back on the stove on high and add a small amount of oil. Use a high smoke oil like avocado or peanut oil, not olive oil. You want to get the oil to 375 degrees and then add your plantain chips to the pan in batches. Fry until golden and crisp, then drain on a plate with paper towels. Sprinkle salt generously on the fried plantains.
Grilled Shrimp Skewers
Soak wooden skewers in water for 10 minutes before using. Slide the shrimp onto skewers until all shrimp are ready and season them with our Bearded Butcher Seasoning Hot Blend. Heat a cast-iron griddle to high heat but not smoking. Melt butter on the surface, then quickly sauté the pressed garlic until it is slightly dark. Finely dice a small amount of Scotch Bonnet pepper and add to the garlic and butter. Remember that bonnets are really spicy – like a habanero, so a little goes a long way (especially since you're also using our Hot seasoning).
Place the shrimp on skewers onto the griddle. Shrimp will cook fast, so flip the shrimp often, moving the skewers around to get the garlic evenly covering the shrimp. Grill shrimp on the griddle for three to four minutes.
Spread fried plantains on the plate, then a couple of skewers of shrimp. A little spicy chili oil and lemon juice will kick up the flavors a ton. This is a simple, spicy way to make a delicious and different meal your family will enjoy.
- Shrimp peeled and deveined
- Bearded Butcher Blend Seasoning Hot
- 4-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and pressed
- 3-4 plantains, peeled and sliced in 1/4" sections
- 1 Scotch Bonnet pepper
- Chili oil and lemon wedges
- Peel devein and wash the shrimp.
- Boil shrimp quickly until pink and almost done in a cast-iron pan.
- Peel and slice plantains, then fry in oil. Sprinkle with salt when done.
- Skewer shrimp.
- Melt butter on the griddle and cook the garlic. Add the Scotch Bonnet carefully.
- Place skewers on the griddle and move them around to coat the shrimp in flavor.
- Place fried plantains on a plate with skewers on top.
This is an easy to make recipe that is both delicious and different. It uses some ingredients you might not be familiar with using, like plantains and Scotch Bonnet peppers to bring a different and unique flavor to your dinner table.
You can also make this recipe on your outside grill. Just remember that shrimp cook really fast. We like to pre-cook shrimp even when grilling to make sure they are not overdone. Then, the grill is just to add a delicious flavor.
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