We tightly pack peeled shrimp alternating heads and tails on metal skewers so they can stay on the grill longer.
Grilled Marinated Shrimp Skewers
SERVES 4 to 6
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Jolts of grill flavor and subtle heat can enhance the delicately sweet and briny flavor of shrimp, but it’s easy to overdo it. Most recipes overcook the shrimp and finish them in a bath of mouth-numbing sauce; we wanted juicy shrimp with a smoky crust and flavor that was more than just superficial. We looked to the spices of Morocco and found just the right blend: lime zest for tang, paprika to accent the smoky grill flavor, ginger and cayenne for complex heat, and cumin and plenty of garlic for a rounded earthy-sharp flavor. We left the fresh lime juice for finishing, since an acidic marinade can degrade the shrimp’s texture. To get browning without overcooking, we sprinkled one side of the shrimp with sugar and grilled this side for a few minutes. Then we flipped the skewers to finish gently cooking on the cooler side of the grill. Butterflying the shrimp before marinating and grilling them opened up more shrimp flesh for the marinade and finishing sauce to flavor. We also packed the shrimp very tightly onto the skewers so they would cook more slowly. The cooking time is for extra-large shrimp (about 21 to 25 per pound). If using smaller or larger shrimp, be sure to adjust the cooking time as needed. You will need four 12-inch metal skewers for this recipe. Serve with Yogurt-Herb Sauce , if desired.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1½ pounds extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled and deveined
½ Teaspoon Sugar
1 Tablespoon Minced Fresh Cilantro
1. FOR THE MARINADE Whisk all ingredients together in medium bowl.
2. FOR THE SHRIMP Pat shrimp dry with paper towels. Using sharp paring knife, make shallow cut down outside curve of shrimp. Add shrimp to bowl with marinade and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.
3A. FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
3B. FOR A GAS GRILL Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave all burners on high.
4. Clean and oil cooking grate. Thread shrimp tightly onto four 12-inch metal skewers (about 12 shrimp per skewer), alternating direction of heads and tails. Sprinkle 1 side of skewered shrimp with sugar. Place shrimp skewers sugared side down on grill (on hotter side if using charcoal). Cook (covered if using gas), without moving them, until lightly charred on first side, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip skewers and move to cooler side of grill (if using charcoal) or turn all burners off (if using gas) and cook, covered, until shrimp are opaque throughout, 1 to 2 minutes. Using tongs, slide shrimp off skewers onto serving platter and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with lime wedges.