Thursday, March 29, 2012

grilled cilantro & pistachio pesto shrimp skewers over sauteed kale

You know what I love?  What absolutely delights me in the most unimportant, trivial sort of way, but a way that is completely satisfying in its insignificance? 

I love when I'm waiting in line at the grocery checkout and I spy a thick, glossy food magazine, pick it up and flip through it for two minutes, decide in the millisecond before the cashier totals my order that I simply must own it, and take it home to discover that I'd like to try all of the recipes inside, thanks in part to the incredible photographs accompanying each and every dish contained therein.

That is what I love.

The ultimate impulse buy.

The magazine I bought that day, a couple of months ago, turned out to be more of a cookbook.  It's a collection called Sunset Best Recipes 2012 (don't ask me how they've come up with the best recipes of the current year when we're only a quarter of the way in - I'm willing to overlook the technicality), and I'm in love with it.

I spent a week just reading and rereading, marking pages with little slips of paper, until my sweetheart told me to just pick a damn recipe already and make her something delicious.

She keeps me in check.

Since we're both obsessed with seafood (no dirty jokes, please) and I had a Groupon for a local fish market, I figured these prawns were the way to go.  Not only are they covered in cilantro and pistachio pesto goodness, but I got to break out my Lodge cast iron grill to cook them (isn't it sexy?).

I've actually made this recipe twice now, and I know it works well on both my cast iron and George Foreman-style grills.  I also tried using a combination of pistachios and pumpkin seeds on one of the attemps, with great success.

The first time around, I served these skewers over a bed of warm coleslaw, but my partner and I both agree that the kale is a better match.  You, of course, are free to pair them with whatever you like.  Enjoy, friends.

Grilled Cilantro & Pistachio Pesto Shrimp Skewers over Sauteed Kale
adapted from Sunset Best Recipes 2012
serves 4

For the skewers:
1 C. lightly packed cilantro sprigs
1/4 C. olive oil
juice of 1 lime
generous 1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 C. toasted, unsalted pistachios 
1 lb. large shrimp, peeled, tails on
about 1/2 - 1 tsp. red pepper flakes

For the kale:
2 T. olive oil
1 large bunch kale, tough stems removed, roughly chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. cayenne
salt and pepper
  • Heat grill (indoor or outdoor) to high.
  • Put cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, salt, coriander and pistachios in the food processor.  Process until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. 
  • Put shrimp in a medium mixing bowl, and season lightly with salt.  Add the pesto and red pepper flakes to the shrimp and toss to coat evenly.  Thread shrimp onto metal or wood skewers and set aside.
  • At this point, start the kale.  Heat a wok or large skillet over medium, and add the oil.  Add the kale to the pan, and stir to coat with oil.  Saute for a minute or two, then add about a tablespoon of water to the pan, cover and steam kale until it begins to wilt, another couple of minutes.  Add the garlic and cayenne, and season with salt and pepper.  Stir and saute for another 3-4 minutes, or until kale is tender but still bright green.
  • Place the shrimp skewers on the grill and cook until pink, turning once, 2-4 minutes per side.  Be careful not to overcook, and remember that your shrimps will continue to cook once removed from the heat. We're not interested in pesto covered rubber here, friends.
  • Place a mound of kale on each of four plates, and top each with two skewers.  Serve ASAP.

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