Garlic-Tomato Grilled Shrimp

Garlic-Tomato Grilled Shrimp

Adapted from The Italian Country Table: Home Cooking from Italy's Farmhouse Kitchens by Lynne Rossetto Kasper (Scribner, 1999). © 1999 by Lynne Rossetto Kasper.

Serves 4 to 5

1 1/2 pounds jumbo shrimp (8 to 10 per pound), shelled and deveined, with tails left intact
2 tablespoons salt, plus more to taste
4 cups ice water
3 to 4 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and patted dry
3 large cloves garlic
3 tightly packed tablespoons fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 tightly packed tablespoon fresh coriander leaves
1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large lime, cut into 8 wedges

1. In a bowl, combine the shrimp with the 2 tablespoons salt and the ice water. Refrigerate 20 minutes, but no more. Meanwhile, mince together the tomatoes, garlic, parsley and coriander. Turn into a medium bowl and stir in the hot pepper and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.

2. Drain, rinse, and pat the shrimp dry. Toss them with the tomato mixture. Keep cold.

3. Cook the shrimp on a lightly oiled, medium-hot grill, sprinkling with salt and pepper, about 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until pink and just firm. Alternatively, film a large skillet or griddle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat over medium heat. Sauté the shrimp, sprinkling with salt and pepper, about 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until pink and just firm. Pile all the seasonings atop the shrimp after you turn them.

4. Turn the shrimp onto a serving platter, along with the seasonings. Serve hot or warm, with the lime wedges. Squeeze a little lime over the shrimp just before eating.

LYNNE'S TIPS

Buy shrimp only from the United States. Experts at the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program claim shrimp from two of our largest sources, Asia and Latin America, are very often farmed using feeding and ecological practices which contaminate them. If the price of shrimp seems too good to be true, it is. American shrimp, farmed or wild, will cost more, but will be better for you and the environment.

The dark so-called vein of a shrimp is its intestines. It can give an unpleasant taste if not removed. With a sharp paring knife, make a shallow cut along the back of the peeled shrimp and pull out the vein with the tip of the knife. Rinse and pat dry.

Nearly all shrimp has been frozen before it reaches the seafood case at the supermarket. If properly handled and turnover is rapid, previously frozen shrimp is fine. Avoid any with dry spots, a sign a freezer burn.

Check for black spots (unless you're buying black tiger shrimp) and yellowed or gritty shells. Black spots point to spoilage, while yellowed or gritty shells suggest the shrimp may have been bleached to remove black spots. The mere thought of it is demoralizing. Find another market where freshness and quality are important.

Shrimp are labeled according to how many make a pound. Huge ones are U-8, meaning under 8 per pound (and the price will take your breath away), while U-60's are quite small. Select from the 20- to 30-per-pound range and you'll still get a decent size for reasonable money.

As with all seafood, keep shrimp refrigerated—ideally in a zip-top bag and buried in a container of ice—and cook the day it's purchased.