A comment was made during our Sunday dinner last weekend to the effect of “You know it’s someone’s birthday when shrimp is on the dinner menu.”
I may cook shrimp during the week in dishes such as Shrimp Fried Rice but the Grilled Lemon or Panko crusted Butterfly Shrimp are definitely left to more special occasions. Homemade fettuccini and shrimp in Marinara Sauce also ranks high for a celebratory dinner.
While growing up at home we were regularly taught about the various kinds of fish by my father whose passion for the sea was only surpassed by the enjoyment of a fish dish well prepared.
Besides being introduced to countless varieties there was always a story from the old country accompanied by a few good tips on the preparation of the kind we were eating at the time.
There are a few simple rules that I go by when purchasing and cooking shrimp.
The first is to stay away from any precooked shrimp, though somewhat convenient they greatly lack in the taste and texture category. Except for dipping the shrimp into a coctail sauce the opportunity to add good flavour has basically been missed. Shrimp is too easy and quick to prepare to justify buying it precooked.
My favourite variety is the Black Tiger zipper back shrimp. Their texture and taste along with the fact that they are already cut along the back for easier peeling and come already deveined makes them my number one choice.
When preparing a dish that requires the shrimp to be cut into pieces, the smaller size are less expensive and work very well. The jumbo size which range from sixteen to twenty shrimp per pound is definitely the way to go when grilling or making Butterfly Shrimp.
A very important rule is to never overcook shrimp; an extra minute of cooking time can definitely alter the palatability of the dish. Cooking times for most preparations take only minutes therefore it's highly recommended that you give those few minutes your undivided attention.
Since shrimp only requires minimal cleaning it can be done successfully by even the most squeamish although purchasing shrimp with their heads still attached is definitely not for the faint of heart!
Grilled Shrimp with Lemon and Garlic
1 pound jumbo Tiger Shrimp
½ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 garlic cloves finely minced
½ cup green onions finely sliced
½ cup chopped dill (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
- Soak wooden skewers in water for 2 to 3 hours to prevent them from burning.
- Defrost shrimp in a bowl of cold water and salt.
- Peel shrimp making sure to leave the tail attached and place into a bowl.
- Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and salt.
- Stir in the garlic, green onions and dill if using.
- Pour over the shrimp and marinade up to 1 hour.
- Skewer shrimp, brush with the marinade.
- Place on a hot grill for approximately 3 minutes per side.
- Brush with marinade while grilling.
- Shrimp should be opaque and have good grill marks when done.
- Serve with lemon wedges.
Notes Tips and Suggestions
- Once the shrimp are turned over check to see if done at the 2 ½ minute time for the second side.
- Be careful to not overcook.
- Skewered shrimp on a bed of Arugula Salad makes a delicious and appealing appetizer.