Grilled shrimp is a favorite meal at my house — Wifey Nadia is most fond of my “summer picnic” with grilled shrimp and asparagus, plus lemon wedges and French bread — but for too long my go-to marinade for shrimp has always been a simple one: parsley, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Week 22, Meal 1: Marinated and grilled shrimp tossed in an Italian summer salsa over sliced heirloom tomatoes took me out of my parsley-and-garlic-smothered comfort zone and into some sideways seafood universe where the sauce is based in tomato.
Not my usual marinade, but one that proved to be a great departure from the same-ol’ scrimp(t).
The Recipe (Yield: 2 servings)
Tomato, herb, and lemon vinaigrette
1 c cherry or plum tomatoes, halved
2 lemons, juiced
1 T chopped tarragon
1 T chopped basil
1 T chopped chives
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 red bell pepper, roasted and diced
1 zucchini, outside 1/4 inch diced (similar to if you diced a cucumber)
1 small bulb fennel, medium diced
1 T pine nuts, toasted
1 oz. wild arugula
12 each shrimp, size 10-20 or similar
1 large heirloom tomato, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
In blender or Magic Bullet combine 1 C cherry or plum tomatoes, the juice of 2 lemons, and 2 T of olive oil. Blend until smooth.
Mix in chopped herbs (1 T of tarragon, 1 T of basil, 1 T of chives) and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Reserve 1/2 for the shrimp marinade and 1/2 as a dressing for the dish.
Combine 12 shrimp and 1/2 the marinade. Marinade covered or in Ziploc bag for 1 hour.
While the shrimp is taking its flavor bath, tackle the rest of the recipe:
Preheat the grill to high and roast 1 red bell pepper (I made two). When black on all sides, let pepper rest in a covered plastic container or bag for 20 minutes. The steam will easily separate the skin from the flesh.
Slice 1 large heirloom tomato and dice 1 zucchini and 1 small bulb of fennel. If the red pepper is cooled by now, dice that too.
Over high heat, toast 1 T of pine nuts for 30 seconds, until fragrant and light brown.
Thread the shrimp on skewers and grill over high heat for 1-2 minutes per side.
In a large bowl, combine bell pepper, zucchini, fennel and pine nuts, plus enough dressing to coat generously. Add shrimp and 1 oz. arugula and toss one final time, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
To plate: Lay down tomato slices then pile shrimp and summer salsa over top.
We cooked for our besties Jason and Kelli on the night we made this meal and it was a unanimous hit with everyone, especially Kelli who doesn’t eat meat except for seafood. Like most of Chef Brian’s grilling recipes, this is yet another great example of a killer marinade elevating familiar proteins to new heights.