Grilled Shrimp with Bacon Green Bean Amandine

Shrimp, especially large ones, are wonderful cooked on a charcoal grill with a hint of wood smoke. To balance the smokiness of the shrimp I have added a bit of bacon to the green beans. Simple white rice makes a great accompaniment. It may seem that there is a lot prep work in this recipe but much of it can be done ahead. The actual cooking only takes a few minutes.

Ingredients

½ pound green beans, fresh or thawed if frozen

¼ cup raw almonds

½ slice bacon, about ½ ounce

10 large tail-on shrimp, about 12 ounces, thawed if frozen and deveined

1 Tbsp. melted butter

Old Bay seasoning

1 cup, about six ounces, long-grain white rice

2 cups water

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Put a small chunk of hickory and 4 bamboo skewers into water to soak.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Trim the ends off the green beans, but leave them whole. Put the beans into the rapidly boiling water and blanch for 4 minutes. While they are cooking prepare a large bowl of ice water. Drain the beans and plunge them into the ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again and set aside.

Bring a cup of water to boil and add the almonds. Blanch for about 2 minutes. Drain and cool. Remove the skins and sliver the almonds lengthwise with a sharp knife. Heat an ungreased cast iron skillet over high heat and toast the almonds, tossing regularly, until they are just brown and fragrant. Be careful not to let them burn. Remove immediately to a small bowl and set aside.

Prepare a charcoal grill for direct cooking over high heat. Place the hickory chunk on the edge of the coals.

Combine the rice and water in a small pot, bring to a boil, and simmer for about 20 minutes or until done.

Render the bacon in a non-stick skillet until crisp, remove, and set aside. You should have a light film of bacon fat in the pan.

Thread the shrimp on the skewers, using two skewers for each serving of 5 shrimp to prevent them turning on the grill. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with Old Bay. Repeat on the other side.

About 5 minutes before the rice is done, put the shrimp over the hot coals. Grill for about 3 minutes on a side.

While the shrimp are cooking, heat the skillet with bacon fat on medium-high heat, add the green beans, and toss to heat through. Add the reserved bacon and almonds. Toss for another minute or so.

To serve, place a serving of rice on a plate, lay the shrimp skewer across it, and spoon the green beans next to the rice.

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