Sometimes you just need a great sweet heat. It is becoming that time of year, at least in Wisconsin, where you can hear the lawn mowers being started for the first cut of the season, and while driving through the neighborhood, you can smell people grilling. To me, this means that summer is near, and more importantly, sitting by the charcoal grill, or ‘manning the fire’ for dinner.
This past week was no exception. The crisp air in the morning led to a warm afternoon. I could sense that this was approaching around nine in the morning. With that said, I immediately thought of grilling, and as I wanted something spicy, I thought of Jamaican jerk. The ingredients were available in my spice cabinet, and as my wife is working hard on that summer-time body, I thought some jerk shrimp would be in order with a surprise of some pineapple salsa.
I’ve made jerk chicken in the past, and have tinkered with the ingredients, but I wanted to make another attempt at some jerk seasoning, using similar ingredients, but with shrimp, and well that pineapple salsa which just brings more life (like jerk needs it) to the dish.
Let’s get started.
Ingredients for the Jerk Shrimp: [Print this Recipe]
- 1 pound fresh shrimp, 16-20 count/lb
- 1 tbsp dried minced onion
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- generous pinch of salt
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup of water
- 5-7 wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least one hour
Ingredients for the Pineapple Salsa:
- 2 cups of fresh pineapple, cut into small cubes
- 1/2 cup of red onion, diced
- 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup of mixed bell peppers, seeded, and finely chopped
- 1 serrano pepper, seeded, finely chopped
- 1 whole lime, juiced
- small pinch of salt
- 2 green onions, finely sliced
Start by mixing all of your jerk ingredients together with the exception of the shrimp. Stir until everything is nice and incorporated. Pour this mixture over the shrimp, and gently stir to combine the flavors. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
During this time, prepare your ingredients for the pineapple salsa. Take all of those prepared ingredients, place in a bowl, and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
Next, heat up your grill. I prefer to use charcoal on anything jerk as it gives off that smoky flavor that enhances the jerk. Once your coals are heated, skewer the shrimp onto the soaked skewers. Place onto the grill, and ‘man’ the grill being careful not to overcook the shrimp. If you do not cook shrimp all that often, just remember that they do not take all that long to cook, and never turn your back on them, especially when they are on the grill. I like to balance out my coals when grilling. One side heated coals, and the other side no coals. This way I can use my tongs and rotate the skewers throughout the short cooking process.
Once the shrimp begin to plump and turn a nice opaque, remove them from the grill and get ready to plate.
To plate, remove the pineapple salsa from the refrigerator, and give it a good stir.
Place a skewer, or two onto a plate, and line the shrimp with a generous helping of jerk shrimp. A bite of shrimp that yields a bit of spice from the jerk, plus a citrusy salsa that balances out that heat? Well, I think that match speaks for itself. The pairing, in my opinion, just sets the tone for the upcoming grilling season. Hope you enjoy.