​Firecracker Shrimp

andy mueller

chef andy—firecracker shrimp—july 2020

With all the fireworks shows canceled this year, it can hopefully be of some comfort you can have your own at home. These fireworks come in the form of flavor explosions in this firecracker shrimp recipe.

A few bonus booms are the ease of preparation, cook time is minutes and the heat can be as mild or as fiery as you like. It's set up for shrimp, but you can use chicken, beef or any of your favorite vegetables that you have on hand.

Keep one thing in mind, as a key tip to skyrocket this dish is that each protein has a different recommended marinade time. Beef stands up to several hours in the marinade without breaking down. Chicken requires less time (about an hour or two) but shrimp will basically "cook" in this marinade if left in the bath for more than 20 minutes. The limes, or lemons if you prefer, will break down the proteins of the delicate shrimp because of its citric acid content.

It's also important to use high heat cooking to achieve a charred or caramelized outer texture be it on the grill or in the pan. A low heat will almost poach, or steam the shrimp and its texture will be a bit rubbery and not so crisp and lively.

If you cook them on the grill, I recommend threading the shrimp on skewers and cook them directly over medium hot coals. In a pan, just add them to a hot skillet over medium high heat and sauté for a few minutes on each side until done. Light fuse, step away and enjoy!

Firecracker Shrimp

Soak 10-inch skewers for an hour in warm water so the wood doesn't burn before the shrimp is cooked.

Peel and devein 12 - 16 jumbo shrimp - set aside.

For the marinade:

In a mixing bowl add:

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic

The juice and zest of 1 fresh lime

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1/8 teaspoon cayenne (to taste)

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon sriracha

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon sugar

Whisk to combine ingredients. Pour half of the marinade into a small bowl and refrigerate to use as a sauce for serving. Pour the other half of the marinade into a large plastic zip bag and add the shrimp. Zip the bag tight and massage the bag of shrimp to make sure the sauce gets to all of the shrimp. Refrigerate for no less than ten minutes and no more than 20 minutes.

Thread the shrimp onto the skewers starting at the base of the tail, then through the thickest part of the shrimp so it looks like a "cent" sign when finished. Grill for several minutes over medium to medium-high heat turning once or twice until cooked. Place skewers on a plate, serve with rice or salad and drizzle with reserved separate sauce. Do not serve the sauce in the bag that held the shrimp—it is raw and should be discarded.

Enjoy the fireworks in your own backyard!

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