Red curry shrimp and pineapple skewers
Popsicles, ice cream, corn dogs, toffee apples ... everything tastes better on a stick, don't you think? That applies to whatever you might throw on the grill. Thanks to skewers, be they bamboo, metal or the woody, older branches of rosemary, you're limited only by your imagination -- and what is easily cut into chunks or cubes.
On Mother's Day, my oldest son, Dan, treated me with these Thai-inspired shrimp kebabs. They're spicy, but you can cut back on the red curry and/or pepper flakes if you're not adventurous. (He also made a few with chicken for the non-fish eaters in the house.) You'll find kaffir lime leaves, along with everything else, at Lotus Foods in the Strip District.
Serve with steamed rice or an Asian slaw made of shredded cabbage, carrots and red onion.
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated/finely chopped
3 tablespoons red curry paste
13 1/2-ounce can coconut milk
2-inch piece lemon grass, smashed
4 to 5 kaffir lime leaves
1 to 2 teaspoons fish sauce (can be omitted if needed)
1 to 2 teaspoons soy sauce
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon palm or brown sugar
Thai red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
14-ounce can pineapple chunks
Wood skewers, soaked overnight in water
Prepare red curry sauce: Add chopped garlic, ginger and red curry paste to a hot skillet along with a small bit of neutral cooking oil. (I used peanut oil.) Saute for a minute on low/medium heat.
Add a small bit of coconut milk (about 1/4 cup) and continue to saute. Slowly add in more coconut milk over the next few minutes until 3/4 of the can is used.
Add lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, sugar and red pepper flakes (to taste) and continue to stir. Sauce should cook for another 15 to 20 minutes on low heat. Adjust seasoning, if necessary. Once sauce has cooked, allow to cool to room temperature.
Assembling kebabs: On the bamboo skewers, alternate one shrimp with one piece of pineapple. There should be two pieces of each per skewer.
Brush filled skewers with red curry sauce on both sides, allowing 15 minutes to marinade. Reserve extra sauce for basting on grill, or dipping.
Grill for 4-5 minutes per side, until done.
-- Dan McKay
Gretchen McKay: email@example.com, 412-263-1419 or on Twitter @gtmckay.