Can we talk about skewers? Just for a minute?
It's embarrassing to admit that I never really grilled skewers until a week ago. Why? Because it requires both planning and forethought, two things in ridiculously short supply around here, especially in summer. Last year, I even bought one of those perforated pans made for the grill. You're just supposed to plop your vegetables or shrimp on it and not worry about them escaping down the hatch, but man, that thing is totally useless. The food doesn't cook well, you get no lovely grill marks, and, AND, you have to wash it. Feh. It's now keeping my old slippers company in the Goodwill box where it belongs.
And now I'm skewer-happy. Saturday morning around 10am I threw 20 wooden skewers in a rectangular dish and covered them with water. We were having friends over seven hours later and though the skewers require only a 30 minute soak to ward off combustion, I figured if 30 minutes is good, then seven hours is even better.
Plus, I didn't want to forget.
Which I definitely would have.
That night, I grilled lemony shrimp skewers slathered with pesto, steak kebabs with a Dijon/ red wine vinaigrette, and lamb kofte skewers. We won't talk in this post about what the lamb looked like, but if you've ever eaten kofte you can probably read between the lines.
The shrimp were the star, though. So shockingly easy: marinate, grill, pesto-ize. Done.
Now that I'm kebab-crazy, I'm open to suggestions for other creative things to thread on over-soaked wooden sticks.
Recipe for Lemony Pesto-Shrimp Skewers
I'm going to be very general here and provide a basic formula rather than a traditional recipe with specific quantities. Since I made so many different kebabs, your own hunger quotient and the other dishes you'll be serving will definitely factor into how many shrimp you'll want to buy.
1 to 2 pounds large raw shrimp
olive oil and lemon/lime juice (I used roughly a 2:1 ratio)
1-2 cloves minced garlic and a spoonful or two of minced cilantro, if desired
salt & pepper
a little pesto sauce (here's my recipe)
Soak a handful of wooden skewers for at least 30 minutes. Or plan to use metal skewers. You'll want no more than 4 shrimp per skewer so plan accordingly.
Peel and de-vein the shrimp, and place them in a ziploc bag.
Whisk together the oil, juice, garlic, cilantro, and a healthy dose of salt and pepper in a measuring cup or small bowl until emulsified. Pour into the bag with the shrimp. Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing it, shmooshing the shrimp around so the marinade coats each piece, and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.
Preheat the grill while the shrimp bathe.
Thread 4 shrimp onto each soaked skewer. Oil the grill. Grill over medium-high heat until grill marks appear and the shrimp turn bright pink and are cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Remove from the grill and brush with the pesto.