For as long as I can remember, dinner at my grandparents' house has meant grilled shrimp and cocktails beforehand. My grandpa even recently mocked himself out, telling us a story of my cousin arriving on an early flight from out of town and serving him shrimp at 7 in the morning. And while that might be the weirdest thing you've (and I've) ever heard, there's something so nostalgic and endearing about always being offered homemade food when you go to your grandparents' house. We always leave with full bellies and full hearts, and the old adage remains true that food made with love just does taste better.
One of my favorite things my grandpa makes is spicy grilled shrimp and pineapple. The flavors go so well together, and although it's not a traditional way of eating it, you will soon learn that pineapple was made to be grilled. The sugars in it make caramelizing a breeze, and the result is just a really amped up version of the fruit that we all know and love.
I served these shrimp and pineapple skewers over a bed of coconut lime rice (Just sub in 1 cup of coconut milk, and keep the same liquid to rice ratio you normally would, and finish with a lot of lime zest, lime juice, and chopped cilantro).
Butter-basted shrimp and pineapple skewers
Yields 2-3 servings
9 wild caught shrimp, shells removed
¼ tsp salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp paprika
⅛ tsp chili powder
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Pinch cayenne pepper
⅛ tsp cumin
⅛ tsp chipotle chili powder
Zest of half a lime
Pineapple, sliced and cut into six to eight 1-1½ inch chunks
Wood skewers, cut down to size if necessary to fit in a grill pan
1 tsp or so canola oil
2-3 T melted butter
Squeeze of lime to finish
Arrange shrimp in a dish or plate. Season evenly with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the rest of the spices and lime zest to make a dry rub. Sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over the shrimp and use your fingers to make sure each is coated well. Let sit for a half hour or so while the shrimp come to room temperature.
Skewer the shrimp and pineapple, alternating between the two, or however you’d like.
Heat a grill to medium-high, or a grill pan to medium-high, and rub or drizzle with a bit of canola oil. Place skewers on the grill. Use a brush to (generously) baste the top side of the pineapple and shrimp with butter (if you’re using a real grill, baste carefully--the butter will flame up when it drips). Grill for 3-4 minutes, and flip and repeat with the other side. You want the shrimp just opaque in the center, and nice and browned on the outside. Finish with a big squeeze of lime over the top.