Easy and healthy margarita grilled shrimp will be your summer grilling staple.
Summer is all about grilling fast, easy and flavorful meals. And it doesn’t hurt when they’re easy on the waistline and pair well with a tasty cocktail. Grilled shrimp is often on my summer menu. A simple shrimp salad topped with avocado is a favorite weeknight dinner or grilled shrimp skewers and marinated skirt steak make for a quick and satisfying surf and turf dinner for a crowd.
But let’s be honest. Summer is also about taking it a little bit easy. Lazy summer nights, cool cocktails, sun and sand. It’s the time of year when I dust off my margarita glasses and buy limes by the bagful. The blender isn’t just for AM smoothies, but late night libations. But the absolute best part of summer for me is relaxing with friends and watching my two little guys just be.
I remember summer days as a kid. Taking shortcuts through all the neighbors’ backyards, playing Spud at dusk in the street and running out the door in the morning and not returning until dinner. Of course times have changed…the word “playdate” makes me shudder and is something we would have laughed off as kids. But busy schedules and constant activities now make scheduling time to play a must during the school year. But ahhhh summer.
It’s the time of year when I purposely under-schedule my kids’ lives and encourage bare feet 24/7. Ice cream is part of just about everyday for them and well…bedtime/schmedtime. I want their memories of summer to be of carefree days and flip-flops; evenings where the most pressing decision is which side of the cone to lick as the ice cream drips down the sides. I want it to be easy.
So with easy in mind, today I’m sharing my recipe for margarita grilled shrimp. This encompasses all of my summertime favorites and ideals on one plate. This recipe is simple enough for a Monday, but pretty enough for a party. It has all the ingredients of a classic margarita cocktail, so of course it begs to be served alongside one. And the trick to making these shrimp extra juicy and tasty is the salt. Before dunking them into a quick margarita marinade, the uncooked shrimped get tossed into a dry brine of salt and sugar. This is ensures a tender bite, instead of a rubbery mess.
These grill up super quick and most of the time spent on this dish is inactive…you just have to give the shrimp some time to soak up all those flavors and tenderizers from the brine and marinade. Of course that works just fine for me. It gives me extra time to soak up a little late day sunshine, watch my boys kick the ball around and maybe mix up a pitcher of margaritas. After all, it’s summertime and salt isn’t just for the shrimp!
- 2 Tbsp kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 lbs shrimp, uncooked, peeled and deveined
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/3 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 jalapeno, chopped (leave the seeds in if you like a little heat)
- 1 Tbsp lime zest
- 2 oz tequila blanco
- 2 oz triple sec (orange liqueur)
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- lime wedges and chopped cilantro for serving
- *metal skewers or bamboo skewers soaked for 30 mins
Mix together the salt and sugar in a medium bowl and add the shrimp. Turn well to coat and cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for one hour. Alternatively, let the shrimp stand in the brine at room temperature for about 20 mins.
In a separate medium bowl, mix together the garlic, cilantro, jalapeño, lime zest, tequila, triple sec, olive oil, and pepper.
Place the shrimp in a colander after it's brined. Rinse well with cool water, pat dry, and add to the bowl with the margarita marinade. Turn to coat, cover, and place in refrigerator for 30 mins - 1 hour.
Turn grill to high, skewer shrimp (threading through the head and the tail in a "C" shape) and grill for about 4 mins or until just cooked through, turning once.
Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges if desired.