As I write this, the pandemic continues, but it appears that summer has finally arrived.
Except for our Friday night dinner “pick-ups” from our favorite downtown Harrisburg restaurants, I have cooked most evenings for my husband and me. And now that warmer weather is here, I have come face to face again with my gas grill.
Now, this was the summer I was going to consider buying a new gas grill, since I blame the one we have for over-cooking everything. But not wanting to spend any significant time browsing in my favorite hardware store, our current grill has gotten a reprieve. And I found that it did a pretty good job of cooking a favorite shrimp recipe that I have been making in the oven all winter long.
It is called “Spicy Calabrian Shrimp,” which is offered as an appetizer in “Giada’s Italy,” the most recent cookbook from Giada De Laurentiis. This collection of recipes is a chronicle of the past two years she spent in Positano and Florence, Italy, filming her Food Network television show. I have adopted the recipe for an easy dinner and pair it with rice and a green vegetable or salad. I usually make extra to share with son No. 1, as it has become a favorite meal for him, too.
Grilling is a good method of preparing seafood. It avoids the “were you cooking fish in here?” comment I often get from family when they walk in my kitchen after I make seafood. In this recipe, the smokiness imparted by the grill enhances the spicy heat of the Calabrian chili paste. I used a “grill pan” over the grates, which keeps the shrimp or other small items from falling through into the fire. But you can also use aluminum foil, especially the kind made just for grilling. Try to find Calabrian chili paste if you can, but garlic chili sauce found in the Asian section of the supermarket would work, too. I just love this dish!
Spicy Calabrian Shrimp
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Calabrian chili paste
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt (optional)
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and de-veined, tails intact
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees or pre-heat your outside grill.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the Parmigiano cheese, olive oil, chili paste, lemon zest, oregano and salt, if using.
- Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Allow the shrimp to marinate at room temperature for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Spread the shrimp on a baking sheet if using the oven or a grill pan or foil if using your outside grill.
- Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes, but cooking time on the grill should be very brief (only about 2 minutes per side). I sprayed PAM on my grill pan because I’m an expert at having foods stick.
- Sprinkle the lemon juice and the chopped fresh basil over the cooked shrimp and serve. (Don’t skip these last 2 ingredients. They really add a great “kick” to the finished dish.)
As noted above, I make this shrimp dish for dinner, but it does work well as an appetizer, too. Served with a spicy cocktail sauce, it beats the cold, often soggy, version.
I hope you’ve also had some interesting cooking adventures as we’ve traveled through this unusual time. My grill has lived to cook another day. Can good times be far behind?