Saturday, June 4, 2016

Firecracker Grilled Shrimp or Shrimp Romesco

This recipe is a based on a classic Romesco sauce, so today I'm giving you both versions which are identical except for the selection of the peppers; hot versus sweet.

Julian's Firecracker Grilled Shrimp
A classic Romesco sauce is a nut and red pepper-based sauce that originated from Catalonia, in Northeastern Spain. It is typically made from almonds, garlic, olive oil, and bitxo peppers (similar to chiles) or nyora peppers (similar to red bell peppers). Stale bread is used as a thickener.

*Pepper Selection:  When I want Firecracker grilled shrimp, I choose canned chilpotle peppers in a spicy adobo sauce or other canned hot red peppers. When I want a more sweet version, I call it Romesco and use canned roasted red peppers, roasted pimentos or piquillo peppers. The other ingredients and techniques are the same.

This makes a great main course but can also be an appetizer or finger food for a party. I've found them to be universally popular. In the photos shown here I just put them in my grill basket in a single layer. Shrimp cook quickly and the basket provides a barrier to the hot grill grates. Ideally you want to place them on a skewer as shown in my prior post and cook them directly on the hot grates, as this will give them a little char marking, which I think is more desirable. If you are in a hurry as I was, then a single layer in a grill basket works okay too.

I make a batch of this sauce and use it on other foods, such as chicken breasts. It can be used as a marinade and a dip. It's great to have on hand in the summer. A batch will hold in your refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.

8-12 ounce can peppers*
2 plum tomatoes, cut up
2 slices (2 ounces) toasted bread, torn
1/2 slivered almonds
1-2 tablespoons paprika
  (hot or sweet as you prefer)
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
1/3 red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup olive oil
raw shrimp (will coat up to 4 pounds)
  (peeled and cleaned, tails on)


Sauce: Prepare in Advance.  In a food processor combine the canned peppers and their sauce/juice, tomatoes, toasted bread pieces, almonds, paprika, crushed garlic, wine vinegar and salt. Pulse until thick puree forms. With the food processor on, drizzle in the olive oil until a smooth emulsified sauce is produced. Let sit for one hour before use, or refrigerate for later use.

Shrimp:  Toss your cleaned shrimp in enough sauce to fully coat. Place in a zip locked bag or airtight container and refrigerate for 1-3 hours. Heat your grill on high heat. Shake off excess sauce. Place the shrimp on double skewers or in a single layer in an oiled grill basket. Cook uncovered for 1-2 minutes per side until the shrimp are firm and no longer opaque.  Serve warm.

Served here on a bed of Spanish rice. 

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