Monday, July 25, 2011

Spicy Grilled Shrimp w/ Couscous

So this isn't just any grilled shrimp and couscous- its spicy garlic shrimp with feta, tomato, and red onion couscous all topped off with a kiss of olive oil and lemon juice.  Believe me this is a recipe you are going to want in your back pocket, especially on those REALLY hot days where even using the microwave makes you feel hot.  I'm sure everyone knows that this past week has been murder with temps reaching well over 100 degrees (well, in NY anyway where we aren't used to it being that hot). I love to break out my trusty George Foreman grill for things like this, but the shrimp can be cooked just as easily and quickly in a saute pan.

I actually went out and bought uncleaned shrimp, and yes you could say it was "rewarding" to stand there and clean about a pound of shrimp, but for the extra dollar a pound I should have bought the cleaned ones.  I would recommend buying the uncooked (or raw, grey colored), cleaned and deveined shrimp versus the pre-cooked ones (the pink ones) because I personally feel it is fresher and the shrimp wont be overcooked.  I left the tails on just for show really, but you can just pull them off if you want before cooking.

Oh and if you are curious, when you say "deveined" shrimp, it just means that the shrimp has had its digestive track removed (yea I know it's a little gross).  It's one little "vein" looking thing that runs along the inside of the shrimp and it's really no good to eat- so they remove it.  If you decide to clean your own shrimp make sure you remove the outer shell and the digestive track.

Another tip on shrimp: They come in a variety of sizes, I actually forgot what size I purchased specifically for this dish, but it was the one on sale.  The numbers usually found under the name of the shrimp signifiy the "count" or about how many shrimp there are per pound.  Obviously, there will be a higher count per pound of smaller shrimp, and fewer (like extra large or colossal) shrimp per pound once they get larger in size.  The count is a range that can look like 31-45 or 31/45. 

  • about one pound of raw, cleaned and deveined shrimp
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • 1 tsp of red pepper flakes, 1 tsp of salt, fresh black pepper
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • ½ red onion, diced (or you could use the whole onion- too much raw onion gives me agita)
  • about ½ c. of feta cheese, add more if you like
  • handful of chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 lemon
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup of couscous (or your favorite box of couscous)
  • Preheat your George Foreman grill, grill pan, or your saute pan.  If I was sauteing the shrimp in a pan I would use about a tablespoon of butter as well as oil.  Don't blast the heat with the oil in the pan until you are ready for the shrimp because the oil might start to smoke and the butter might burn before you are ready.  If the oil does smoke just remove from the heat.
  • In a bowl, take the shrimp, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Cover with about 2-3 tablespoons of oil just to coat everything.  Mix well and set aside. 
  • While we let that hang out for a few minutes, chop your tomatoes, onion and parsley.  Then put into a large boil.  Crumble in your feta cheese as well. 
  • Follow the instructions on the box of couscous.  Usually you bowl water and salt, then when it comes to a boil you put the couscous in, stir, then cover and let sit for about 5 mins.  When the couscous is done it is important to fluff it before adding to the bowl with the tomatoes and onions.  Combine couscous and other ingredients in the bowl well.  Add about 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and taste to see if more salt and pepper is needed- it probably will need some. Set aside.
  • When your cooking vessel is hot- add the shrimp.  It should only take about 1-2 minutes on each side.  Cooking shrimp is probably one of the easiest foods to know when it's done- it goes from grey to pink/orange color.  Try not to overcook them though- otherwise they will taste rubbery.
  • Family style and individual plating is basically the same.  Take your couscous and cover the bottom of the plate and then place the shrimp on top of that.  Squeeze the juice of the lemon on top and serve with an extra sprinkle of parsley if you want.

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