This weekend brought something new to the little saffron kitchen. A grill! I can’t think of a better way to kick off June.
The first thing we cooked over charcoal were these shrimp-pineapple kebabs on Friday night. Leftovers were still great for the next day’s lunch. Then we made the kebabs again on Sunday.
It’s going to be a glorious summer.
This recipe starts with a marinade of dark soy sauce, pineapple juice, Sriracha, lime, ginger, and olive oil. That rooster sauce definitely comes through, making the shrimp spicy. You can’t beat the flavor of food cooked outside on a grill. Pineapple is juicier and caramelized. Red onion, cut thick and blackened at the tips, becomes your new favorite vegetable.
Couscous is a great side for these kebabs. It cooks quickly with barely any effort, and the couscous absorbs the sauce dripping from the charred pineapple and shrimp. Use your fingers to push the grilled goods off the skewers from top to bottom in one move; it’s easier than using a fork. Pieces of vibrant red bell pepper mixed with purple onion, tiny couscous and burnt yellow pineapple look beautiful on a plate.
It might have been the most recent issue of Food & Wine that convinced us it was time to get a grill. Best new grilling recipes! Best grilling tools and techniques! And right there on the cover, a spread of greens and tomatoes with those telltale black stripes. Or maybe it’s the view of this lake from the balcony, and the sun that’s out til 8 p.m.
These kebabs tell me it was the right move.
One bite of these kebabs, or pinchos as my Dad calls them, would convince you to get one, too.
grilled pineapple-shrimp kebabs with couscous
This is the kind of thing I want to eat all summer. The vegetables are charred and the shrimp is slightly spicy, and all of it is perfect with some couscous.
1 pineapple, cut into 1 -inch chunks
1 lime, for juice and zest
1/2 cup dark soy sauce
extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 red onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 10-ounce box instant couscous
a few sprigs of fresh thyme or another herb
Soak a dozen 12-inch wood skewers in water for 30 minutes. Make sure grill is getting hot and ready to go.
Throw a handful of pineapple chunks into a baking dish and use a muddler or wooden spoon to crush them, releasing some of the fruit’s juice. Whisk together 1 tablespoon lime juice, lime zest, soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, Sriracha, and ginger in the same baking dish with the pineapple. Reserve a few tablespoons of the marinade in a small bowl.
Add the shrimp and pineapple chunks to the marinade, and let it all sit in the fridge for 15 minutes. Thread the onion, bell pepper, shrimp, and pineapple onto the skewers, using 2 shrimp per skewer. Set all the kebabs onto a baking sheet and carry to the grilling area to cook a few at a time until the vegetables and pineapple begin to char and the shrimp firms up.
In the meantime or before grilling, bring 1 1/4 cups water and a tablespoon of olive oil to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in couscous, cover, and remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Season with salt, pepper, the juice of 1 lime, and the leaves from five or so sprigs of fresh thyme. Cover until kebabs are ready.
At the grill, brush the kebabs with reserved marinade as they cook. The kebabs will take several minutes to cook. It may be hard to tell when the shrimp is done because of the dark sauce, but you can tell when the vegetables and pineapple are charred and the shrimp has curled and firmed up. Serve a few kebabs over about a 1/2 cup of couscous per plate.
Serves 4. Adapted from Every Day with Rachael Ray