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Fish 4 Friday: Barbeque Shrimp Without the Grill

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For most of us in the South, it’s been grilling time for a while now. Up North, though, I hear it’s still a bit cool and breezy. (Too bad.) In either case, we have the issue this year of plenty of rainy days. (Thank Goodness, after several years of tough drought!) So you scored some nice shrimp and you’d love to grill, but the dog won’t hold the bumbershoot for you while you grill those lovelies.

What to do, what to do?

Well, how about the old-fashioned way: In the oven! There’s a novel concept for ya. (No need to thank me, unless you were considering sending piles of cash. You did consider that, yes?)

Here’s how you do this. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Make a sauce this way: Take a couple of jalapeƱo or serrano peppers and dice them up; use Thai or hotter if you like (or if you dare). Toss the pepper pieces into a food processor. Add some cilantro leaves and stems, about 2 tablespoons or so of the herb chopped up. Add a couple tablespoons grated Cotija or Parmigiano cheese. Then toss in a half teaspoon garlic paste, a tablespoon of olive oil, a half teaspoon of white vinegar, a half teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of freshly-ground black pepper. Squeeze a lime or two into the mix, then whirl it all around in the blender until nearly smooth. (I like mine with a bit of texture, but it’s your sauce; you blend until you have what you want.)

Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails on if you like, and place them in a mixing bowl. Pour the sauce over and toss to coat. Transfer to a metal baking pan, one large enough that the shrimp don’t fill more than half-full. Use a metal pan if you can, a glass dish takes too long to heat and the shrimp may come out rubbery. Cover the shrimp with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring once in the middle. Don’t put the foil back on when you stir the dish. (Or heck, just leave the foil off; it just gets in the way. Just don’t tell anybody I told you to do this.)

This method works with bottled sauce too, provided you use a good quality, spicy one. Using regular barbeque sauce is for Yankees Wimps. You can also use your grill if the weather’s fine; just start the shrimp over medium heat and coat with the sauce every time you turn the skewers, which should be every 2-3 minutes or so. Put any extra sauce, not used to coat the shrimp, on the table as a dipping sauce. Rain or shine, you’ll enjoy this one…

Enjoy the (Rainy Day Shrimp) Heat!

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