That was the question; whether ‘tis nobler to take off the shells before grilling, or leave the task to your diners.. . The fishmonger at Whole Foods assured me, as he stood in front of some pre-seasoned grill-ready peeled shrimp kabobs, that leaving on the shell would give a “shrimpier” taste. Who wouldn’t take the advice of a cute guy in a bandana?
But first, I must digress. I am having an oil-crisis. It annoys me when a recipe calls for more than 1/4 cup of oil in which the grillee soaks, and then the marinade is disposed of without a fare-the-well. Some reasoning is called for here. Of course a marinade needs some oil to release the oil-soluble compounds, and to lubricate things like shrimp, chicken breast , or vegetables that don’t have a lot of fat. SO, I’m guessing that the excess oil is there just to add volume, and instead of using a barrel of oil, how about some water, beer, or juice? And then one has to wonder “how much marinade do I need?” Unfortunately, it’s subjective. If you can’t be around to flip the bag (I usually marinate in a zip top) to make sure all surfaces have a chance to be flavored, then by all means make up a big quantity, But, if you are around, just make enough to come halfway up the sides (approximately 1 cup of marinade per pound of marinadee), and flip away.
Ok, back to the shrimp. I made the marinade and dropped in the still in shell shrimp, and gave them a flip every so often. One nice thing about the shrimp being still in shell is that they weren’t too delicate. Once they were done, it was time for skewering. Here is a very bad thought process: Shrimp cooks quickly, so there is no need to soak the skewers. At first read, that probably sounds ok. But consider that oily marinade plus thin, dry pieces of wood essentially equals fire-starters. Oops.
Finally the Marinated Grilled Shrimp were on the table. The 11 year old complained about having to de-shell, because they were too good to eat so slowly. Once we got to our second skewer, the shells were harder remove, but we didn’t mind that much because they were delicious (3 of us ate a whole pound, and one of us is not such a seafood lover). Next time shrimp are on sale we’re going to repeat this without the shells..and of coursed, soaked skewers!
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