And then there was shrimp. The ultimate appetizer and finger food, I can’t think of a restaurant I’ve ever been to that did not have some form of shrimp as an appetizer. Hence a shrimp appetizer had to be shared. I was inspired to make pesto last week at Valentine’s Day dinner. My sister had grilled lobster with a choice of miso, pesto or lemon butter. (We went to Rojo at Spanish court hotel in New Kingston. Food is amazzzzzzingnggggg…but I digress) I told her to try the pesto and she loved it. The lobster got me thinking that a shrimp pesto could be just as delicious as the spicy shrimp shooter I had planned. So that’s exactly what I did.
I’ve always wanted to try pesto; however I didn’t think I would find pine nuts in my grocery store, so I was all set to try almond, walnuts or pistachios. But as luck would have it, looking for sage in the spice isle I found bottles of pine nuts. This is an extremely easy recipe. The pesto requires no heat, and shrimp take 1-3 minutes per side to cook, not to mention, they don’t require a long time to marinate in the seasoning.
I must say for my first try at pesto is was quite good. I never thought I would like it since it has so much basil. Do not get scared by the 6 cloves of garlic, it’s not over powering at all. I’ve seen recipes call for one clove, and I’m not sure how that would work because my 6 were very subtle. The basil and olive oil to me are the stand out flavors everything else complements them. It looks so gourmet and hard to make, this would really impress. We had ours with some creamy mashed potatoes. YUM!
Ingredients (printable recipe)
1.5 lb jumbo 21/25 shrimp (or larger)
½ tsp. Black pepper
1 tsp. Smoked paprika
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp oil
4 tbsp pesto
2 cups Spinach leaves
1 cup Fresh basil
1/3 cup Pine nuts
6 cloves Garlic
½ cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup olive oil
2 tsp. Salt
- Make sure to use raw shrimp (peeled, deveined with the tail on) do not use precooked shrimp
- let the shrimp/pesto marinade sit at least 10 minutes before grilling
- Toss the shrimp in more pesto after grilling or serve as a dipping sauce on the side
- I store my left over pesto in an air tight zip lock bag in the fridge. You can also freeze this so it lasts longer
- You can use a mortar and pestle, food processor, or regular blender to make the pesto; the different methods just yield different textures. If your blender has a pulse setting you can achieve relatively chunky pesto as opposed to liquid smooth (which is not really the consistency you want for this application)