Grilled Shrimp Cocktail with Two Green Sauces

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With the typical hot September weather in San Diego (it’s when we get our summer), I broke out the grill so I could avoid heating up the house. I  made these grilled shrimp once before in a grill pan, but they’re even better on a real grill! What makes these so great is how simple and fresh they are — and light, which is ideal for when it’s hot out. You can serve them hot, cold or room temp, and with a wide variety of dips, from the green ones here to cocktail sauce to a vinaigrette. They’ll be a hit, so make a lot.

The green dips here are really fresh and interesting. The Tunisian pesto uses almonds instead of your traditional pine nuts, and parsley and cilantro instead of basil. The chutney has a Mediterranean influence, with kick from a jalapeño, plus ginger, yogurt, mint and cilantro — it’s spicy and herby and delish.

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TW’s Tips

  • The dip recipes make a lot — freeze the pesto and serve with salmon or chicken another time.
  • The dips also involve a fair amount of food processor work — make them ahead to save on the headache.
  • Make sure you skewer the shrimp well so they don’t become grill martyrs.
  • I prefer larger shrimp versus medium.
  • Serve with a green salad or as an appetizer.

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Grilled Shrimp

Ingredients

  • 1 pound medium shrimp with tails, peeled and deveined
  • Oil or melted butter for grilling
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lime

Directions

Preheat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium-high. Toss shrimp with just enough oil or butter to coat lightly, then season with salt and pepper to taste. If cooking on an open grill grate, thread the shrimp on skewers or place in a grill basket. Grill shrimp under they just curl and are translucent, about 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Squeeze lime over the shrimp and serve warm or at room temperature with dip.

Tunisian Pesto

Ingredients

  • 2 cups packed fresh cilantro (leaves and some stems)
  • 1 cup packed fresh parsley (leaves and some stems)
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch Cayenne pepper (optional)

Directions

Combine the cilantro, parsley, almonds and garlic in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add about 1/3 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Add the salt and pinch of cayenne pepper. Serve immediately. Makes 1 cup.

 Fresh Green Chutney

Ingredients

  • 1 1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 scallions (white and green parts) cut into large pieces
  • 1 cup fresh mint (leaves and some stems)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro (leaves and some stems)
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed (with seeds for more heat, without seeds for less)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water (optional)

Directions

With the machine running, drop ginger into the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add scallions, mint, cilantro, yogurt, jalapeño, lime juice and salt. Process to a textured paste similar in consistency to pesto, adding water to adjust the consistency, if desired.

Open-Face Blue Moon Burgers with ‘Shrooms

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As the 4th of July often involves grilling and burgers, in the spirit of Independence Day grub (one day late), I offer this ahhh-mazing burger. Courtesy of Rachael Ray, it’s the Open-Face Blue Moon Burger with ‘Shrooms…and it will knock your socks off. What makes a burger so good? Well, besides the well-cooked, juicy burger itself, in this case it’s the combo of pungent blue cheese, earthy mushrooms, bright parsley and spicy arugula, all on a crunchy, thick piece of bread with well-seasoned tomatoes underneath. Suffice it to say that the flavors in this are pretty crazy. The mushroom-blue cheese sauce is so delicious that I could drink it straight from the plan.

This is definitely a knife-and-fork kind of burger, and I’m okay with that. It just means there’s lots of delicious, messy stuff going on with it. And it’s pretty awesome when the sauce and burger soften the crusty bread just a little bit and you can sop up all that goodness in one bite.

TW’s Tips

  • I didn’t use 2 whole pounds of beef and I definitely make smaller, more realistic size portions. A quarter pound burger is pretty big, and Rachael calls for a 1/2 pound — yikes. That’s a lotta beef.
  • Baby arugula works well for this, and you won’t need to de-stem.
  • Not the end of the world if you can’t find a yellow tomato. It just looks prettier with some variety in color.

Happy Fourth!

Open-Face Blue Moon Burgers with ‘Shrooms

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground sirloin
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO, plus some for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 pound button mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, a generous handful
  • 4 thick slices country-style crusty bread
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, about 1/2 cup
  • 1 small bunch arugula, washed and thick stems removed
  • 1 red beefsteak tomato, cut into 4 thick slices
  • 1 yellow beefsteak tomato, cut into 4 thick slices
  • 4 ounces good-quality blue cheese, crumbled

Directions

In a mixing bowl, combine the ground sirloin, Worcestershire sauce and chopped shallot. Mix thoroughly. Score the meat with your hand, marking 4 equal portions. Form each portion into a large 1-inch-thick patty. Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season the patties liberally with some salt and pepper, and then drizzle the patties with a little EVOO and place in the hot skillet. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes per side, or until the patties are firm to the touch and cooked through.

Preheat the broiler.

While the burgers are cooking, preheat a second large skillet over medium-high heat with the EVOO and butter. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and spread them out in an even layer, resisting the temptation to stir for a few minutes to let the mushrooms start to brown. Once brown, go ahead and stir, continuing to cook for 2 minutes, then add the onions and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring every now and then, for about 3 minutes, or until the onions start to look tender. Add the chicken stock, bring it up to a bubble, and simmer for about 2 minutes. Add the parsley and stir to combine; taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

While the burgers and the mushrooms are working, toast the bread slices under the broiler until they are golden on both sides.

Coarsely chop the basil and arugula.

Place a piece of toast on each serving plate. Top each piece of toast with 1 slice of red tomato and 1 slice of yellow, and season the tomatoes with a little salt and pepper. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the arugula-basil mixture and put a cooked burger on top of that. Add the blue cheese crumbles to the mushrooms, stir to combine, and top each burger with the mushroom-blue cheese mixture. Grab a fork and knife and dig in.