I can never resist buying jumbo shrimp when they are on sale. I’m talking GIGANTOR shrimp, that really could be mistaken for small lobster tail. The best thing to do with this monsters is to grill them whole, shell-on with a lemongrass and ginger marinade.
So, how do you prepare Lemongrass-Ginger Grilled Shrimp this big? I’ll show you how to clean them and de-vein them without removing the shell.
It’s really easy to devein shrimp with the shell-on. The larger the shrimp, the easier it is too – because the vein is much larger, making it easy to grab and remove. Here’s how to devein shrimp (which really isn’t a vein, you know that right? it sure sounds better than digestive tract). I have 2 methods for you:
First, you want to take a pair of kitchen shears and snip off the little feet of the shrimp.
Now take a pair of sharp kitchen shears (small pointy sharp ones) I loooove my Joyce Chen Kitchen Shears and snip the shell along the back of the shrimp. All the way along the back of the shrimp, stopping just before you reach the tail. Don’t go too deep- you want to keep the vein intact for easy removal. Basically, you are splitting open the shell along the back of the shrimp.
Now you can remove the shrimp’s vein. The shell stays intact and you can just lift that vein out.
If you don’t want to split open the shell of the shrimp along its back, here’s another method:
Take a toothpick and go right between the shell segment, just under the “vein”
With your toothpick, now you can gently pull out the “vein” of the shrimp and discard. The vein should come out cleanly in one piece.
If you like spicy, you can add finely minced fresh chili pepper or a dash of chili powder to this recipe. The finer you chop the lemongrass, ginger and garlic, the more flavorful the shrimp.
I suggest using a microplane grater to grate the lemongrass and ginger, and a garlic press for the garlic. If you don’t have lemongrass, substitute with 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest. For grilling, I say the bigger the shrimp the better! And I like grilling or broiling with the shrimp shell on; it protects the delicate meat, and I just enjoy eating foods that require a bit of work. But feel free to remove the shell before marinating, or buy already shelled shrimp.
1 stalk lemongrass, outer leaves discarded, bottom 3 inches finely minced or grated
1-inch piece of ginger, finely minced or grated
2 or 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 stalk green onion, finely minced
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound shell-on shrimp
12 bamboo skewers
Cooking oil, for brushing on grill grates
Lime wedges, for serving
In a bowl, combine the lemongrass, ginger, garlic, green onion, oil, salt and pepper together.
Devein the shrimp using a pair of small sharp shears. Starting from the head end of the shrimp, snip along the top (the shrimp’s back) just deep enough to pull out the black vein. Pat the shrimp very dry. Marinate them in lemongrass-ginger mixture for 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, soak the bamboo skewers in water for 15 to 20 minutes before skewering the shrimp.
When ready to cook, preheat your barbecue grill or broiler. If grilling, brush the grill grates with cooking oil so the shrimp won’t stick. Grill the shrimp 2 to 3 minutes on each side until they are cooked through. If broiling, brush cooking oil on your broiler pan. Broil shrimp 2 to 3 minutes each side. Serve with lime wedges.
Makes 4 servings