No offense to the people who produce and/or named the canned tuna, but I’d like to think of shrimp as the chicken of the sea. It’s easily available, relatively inexpensive, liked by just about everybody and, despite the fact that it’s pretty great plain, it’s also a relatively blank canvas for all types of dishes and cuisines.
I cook a shrimp dish from just about every country I’ve visited on this little culinary adventure. And I don’t see myself curtailing this trend anytime soon- some of the shrimp dishes (Goan Shrimp and Eggplant Curry, Smoky Bacon and Cheddar Shrimp and Grits, and Shrimp Saganaki to name a few) have been among my very favorites recipes!
I’ve got a couple Vietnamese shrimp recipes on the agenda, but decided to start with this lemongrass shrimp because it’s a snap to make and is perfect for grilling season. Shrimp gets a quick marinade in a fragrant, barely spicy lemongrass-based mixture before getting tossed on the grill.
And if you’re one of those folks dealing with triple digit temps, you’ll be thrilled that these only take a couple minutes to cook. If you’re sans grill, you can always throw the under the broiler like I did (sadly the grills were already reserved at my condo the day I cooked these). You won’t get the lovely char marks, but they’ll still taste great.
Tom Nuong Xa- Lemongrass Shrimp
Yield: 4-6 as an appetizer
* 1 stalk lemongrass, woody ends trimmed and coarsely chopped
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
* 1 teaspoon gluten-free soy sauce
* 1/2 teaspoons ground chili paste (Sriracha would work here)
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 2 teaspoons lime juice
* 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
* 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
* 1 pound medium to large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
* finely chopped scallions or mint
* bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes, the drained
Combine the lemongrass, garlic, fish sauce, gluten-free soy sauce, chili paste, sugar, lime juice, vegetable oil and black pepper in a food processor or blender and process until fairly smooth.
Transfer marinade to a medium bowl and add the shrimp. Toss well to coat. Marinate for 15-30 minutes. Thread the shrimp onto the skewers. Set aside.
Preheat a charcoal, gas grill or your oven broiler. Grill or broil the shrimp for a couple minutes each side. Serve with rice for a meal or with nuoc cham for an appetizer.