“Honey! It’s Dad!! You’re on SPEAKER!!!”
My father’s booming voice, a crescendo through the phone, culminated in what could easily be construed as a full shout, as when he is particularly excited he forgets that thanks to the invention of Alexander Bell, one needn’t yell all the way across the country to be heard.
Feverishly trying to find the volume down button and holding the phone out from my ear, I shouted back, “Hi! I’m great!! What’s UP???”, as when I am particularly excited I forget that thanks to the invention of Alexander Bell, one needn’t yell all the way across the country to be heard. Like Father, like Daughter…what can I say.
“Have you taken the shrimp out of the BRINE??”
“Another minute forty-five seconds! WHY?!”
“You’re really going to want to RINSE IT!”
At this point I simply burst out laughing. My dad, who semi-retired this past year and went from working nearly 80 hours a week to consulting part-time, has taken all the energy and enthusiasm and passion he had for his job and turned it into the kitchen. The result is one very lucky wife, one very well fed teenage son, and one very happy adult, food-blogging daughter, who now gets phone calls from her Dad wanting to talk about shrimp for 30 minutes. Yes, we can talk about shrimp for 30 minutes, and I’m not sure which of us enjoys it more.
I’ve never been much of a Cooks Illustrated fan, finding a large number of the tasks they suggest seemingly annoying and high maintenance. I prefer to flip through pictures of Food & Wine, pick a recipe, then ignore half of it, and feign shock and dismay when it doesn’t turn out exactly as its pictured. Take brining…brining is the kind of thing I would almost always skip. I don’t know why…clearly it’s not that hard…but it just bugs me.
So when my Dad called to tell me he had recently made “the MOST succulent shrimp, I mean really Erina, the absolute best shrimp you’ve ever had” I promised to make the recipe, and follow the “CRITICAL” step of the brining and the “RINSING” (all of which he told me about in detail on our first call, and in the email, and on the recipe, and in our second call…because come on folks, this is SERIOUS stuff we’re talking about.)
Well, turns out, Father does know best. These shrimp are amazing. I might even say they are the most succulent shrimp, I mean really, the absolute best I’ve ever had. The brining is quick (30 minutes), and really does result in tremendously juicy shrimp. Furthermore, they take less than 5 minutes to cook making them festive and utterly satisfying, yet very manageable, dinner party fare. We served them with Sriracha Mayonnaise, from the New York Time’s recent article, and there was not a shrimp left to be found in the house despite my Dad’s urging that I make “EXTRA” because they are “FANTASTIC leftovers!”
Grilled Shrimp with Lemon, Garlic, and Garden Herbs dipped in Sriracha Mayonnaise – Adapted from Cooks Illustrated
- 2 lbs raw shrimp, tail on, shells off, thawed
- 1/4 cup kosher salt (or 2 TB table salt)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 quarts cold water
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 2 tsp table salt
- 4 TB olive oil
- 4 tsp lemon juice
- 4 tsp garden herbs (oregano, basil, thyme, chives, whatever suits your fancy)
- In a large bowl combine the water, salt, and sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the shrimp and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mince garlic with salt to form a smooth paste. Combine garlic paste with olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh herbs. Set aside.
- When thirty minutes is up, drain the shrimp and RINSE them for 2-3 minutes.
- Return shrimp to large bowl, add the herb paste, stir to toss, and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours, stirring occasionally if marinating for the longer term.
- When ready to cook, light a grill and allow to get very hot, preheating for 15 minutes or so, and ensuring that grates are scraped clear. Meanwhile, skewer the shrimp, catching both the tail and body so they are securely on the skewer.
- Reduce the grill heat to 75%, and avoiding direct flame as much as possible, cook until just cooked through and pink, about 4-6 minutes total time (2-3 minutes per side).
- Serve with Sriracha Mayonnaise, blasted asparagus, grilled bread, and quinoa salad.