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Food for Thought: Grilled Shrimp

Tasty variations on a seasonal favorite.

Shrimp are one of those rare treats that nearly everyone can agree on.

Delicious hot or cold, they can be served as an appetizer, main course or savory side. Chef Demetrios Haronis of FIN restaurant in Atlantic City tells Food For Thought (FFT), “Shrimp are popular because they are not fishy. They are the perfect introduction to seafood because of their mild taste and firm crisp bite.” He adds, “Shrimp are extremely versatile and take well to a lot of different seasoning and methods of preparation; you are only limited by your own creativeness.”

For grilling shrimp he suggests deveining them first but leaving the shell on “which makes for a more flavorful and juicier shrimp.” His special recipe for seafood salad with grilled shrimp is included. FFT also spoke with local venues where shrimp is always on the menu.

Legal Sea Foods, Garden City, Huntington

Sixty years ago Legal Sea Foods opened as a fish market in Cambridge MA. Today it’s an east coast staple serving more than 40 varieties of fresh fish. Patrick Keefe, culinary director of Legal Sea Foods, tells FFT he believes the popularity of shrimp is due to its mild, sweet flavor and extreme versatility. “You can have it sautéed, poached, broiled, roasted, fried and grilled!” he said.

At Legal Sea Foods, grilled shrimp is seasoned with sea salt and cracked pepper and goes on a special grill with a smoldering hickory wood. “After about three minutes on one side they will begin to form a nice crust. They are then flipped and just before serving we give them a light brush of house vinaigrette,” Keefe said.

For a tasty summertime grilled shrimp dish he suggests serving over vine ripe tomatoes and a salad made with baby arugula, aged feta, sliced basil, oregano, lemon and olive oil. A slice of good crusty bread completes the feast.

Prime Catch, Rockville Centre

Grilled shrimp cocktail is one of the signature dishes at Prime Catch, says owner Al Avci, and a huge hit with the martini set. “We marinate our shrimp with olive oil, lemon juice and garlic, grill them and serve hot in a martini glass with cocktail sauce and lemon. Everyone loves it.,” he said. Avci describes his eatery as a restaurant/bar and “sexy” lounge with the emphasis on lounge. At this time of year the doors are wide open and the outside tables are in full view of the well-appointed bar. He gets his fish daily from a local Freeport market and says happy hour is every day from 4-7 p.m. Monday is reggae night and Friday is Sinatra and friends.

George Martin’s Grillfire, Long Beach, Merrick, Rockville Centre

Skewered Jumbo Shrimp is a popular favorite at the Long Beach Grillfire, says assistant manager Bridget Criscuolo, and you can have it paired with Thai chili sauce, mango barbecue, Cajun spice or EVOO and lemon. “Everyone loves shrimp and it’s nice over a salad, as a side, shrimp cocktail or with a great piece of steak,” she said. All variations are on the menu and you can enjoy them with live jazz on Tuesdays or classic acoustic rock on Friday and Saturday.

RECIPE:

FINS SEAFOOD SALAD: Seafood with a Splash

From FIN: A Seafood Experience at the Tropicana Casino and Resort-Chef Demetrios Haronis

  • 4 Heads of Romaine hearts only cut into quarters lengthwise
  • 1 pound Heirloom tomatoes cut into various pieces
  • 4 Whole Grilled Artichokes cut into half
  • 8 ea U-10 Grilled Shrimp
  • 8 oz Jumbo Lump Crabmeat
  • 8 oz Barrel Aged Feta, cut into one-inch cubes
  • 1 English Cucumber, cut into half moons
  • 1 Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • Red Wine Vinaigrette

Divide among four plates. Romaine on the bottom, arranging each item, drizzle with the dressing or you can chop romaine and combine all ingredients in a large bowl and drizzle with the dressing and toss gently to coat well. Serve right away. Serves four.

RED WINE VINAGRETTE

  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dry Greek oregano
  • 5 basil leaves
  • 5 leaves of flat leaf parsley
  • ½ teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1.5 cups Extra Virgin olive oil preferably Grecian
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Put everything in blender except for olive oil and blend, slowly add olive oil until blended.

GRILLED SHRIMP

  • Shrimp, preferably white wild caught
  • Extra Virgin olive oil, preferably Grecian
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

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