I LOVE savory appetizers, don’t you?!? They definitely whet your appetite for what’s to come during dinner.
Shrimp offers so many options, especially when it comes to appetizers. And every time I work with shrimp, I think of the scene from the movie Forrest Gump when Bubba lays out all the wonderful things you can do with it: “. . . You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There’s shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That, that’s about it.” Yup, that’s about it 🙂
Today we’re talking about tasty shrimp-kabobs. And since I still had some beautiful makrut lime leaves (sometimes called kaffir lime) in my fridge, I wanted to make something that packed a punch, but also offered layers of flavor to make that first bite really special.
Enter Sriracha sauce. . .one of the most treasured ingredients in my fridge, and one that definitely packs a punch. Combined with a little brown sugar, aromatic essential oils from those lime leaves, zingy garlic and ginger, this marinade became a magical sauce that bathed those little shrimp in pure wonderfulness.
I skewered the marinated shrimp and placed them on a hot grill (a quick way to cook them all at the same time), but you can easily saute them in a hot, non-stick skillet on the stove or roast them in your oven. However, the charring on the grill does make them really special. Just sayin’. . .
Once they’re cooked and splashed with lime juice and fresh cilantro, they’re SO tasty (and quite pretty on a platter). The first bite tells you they’re laden with heat, but it’s not overwhelming – it hits on the front end but doesn’t finish in a blaze of glory. You can even taste the subtle tropical and fragrant lime leaves, along with the sweetness of the sugar and all that other good stuff. Yummy.
I brought them to a dinner party last night and one of my friends, after tasting her first one, proclaimed “Oh, my God. I’ve just had a spiritual experience!” If that’s not an endorsement for this recipe, I don’t know what is!
You could also toss these babies into a crispy salad with citrus dressing (like the one here for Cantaloupe, Cuke and Bacon Salad), or mix them into a bowl of hot pasta, veggies and a little lemon/olive oil dressing. Tasty!
- ¼ c. Sriracha sauce
- ¼ c. olive oil
- ¼ c. packed brown sugar
- 2 Tb. rice vinegar
- 3-4 green onions, sliced thinly
- ~10 Makrut lime leaves, shredded
- 1” piece fresh ginger, peeled & grated
- 1 clove garlic, minced or mashed
- 2 lbs. extra large shrimp (~26/30), shelled but w/tails
- Handful fresh cilantro, chopped
- Lime wedges
- Combine all marinade ingredients in a 1-gallon, sealable plastic bag and squish the bag to combine everything.
- Once the shrimp are prepped, place in the bag and mix to ensure all are coated.
- Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
- Remove from refrigerator and place shrimp on skewers (metal or bamboo).
- Heat grill to high and place skewers on grate to cook first side about 1 minute then reduce heat to medium, cook another minute, then turn to cook other side about 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from grill and sprinkle with chopped cilantro and lime juice before serving. (P.S. if you have any leftover lime leaves, they make a great garnish!)