Choose the largest shrimp you can find for this recipe. The bigger they are, the longer they will take to cook, which means more time for them to absorb the basil fragrance from the pesto, and longer for the flame to singe their skins. The effect, as the parchmentcrisp crust cracks between the teeth, releasing a burst of basilscented juice across the palate, is ecstatic.
Gas: Direct heat, medium-high (425° to 450°F)
Clean, oiled grill grate
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch bed, 3 to 4 inches deep
Clean, oiled grate set 2 inches above the fire.
Prep: 10 minutes
(plus 10 minutes for pesto)
Grill: About 8 minutes.
BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Four 15-inch metal skewers, preferably flat or square
– Long-handled tongs or grill mitts
– Long-handled basting brush
Makes ¾ cup (about 12 servings)
4-ounce bunch fresh basil, stems removed
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup freshly grated imported Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
Chop the basil and garlic finely in a food processor. Add the pine nuts, olive oil, Parmesan, salt, and pepper and process in pulses until well blended. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
INGREDIENTS (MAKES 4 SERVINGS)
12 colossal (U-15) shrimp (about 1 pound), shelled and cleaned
3 tablespoons basil pesto, purchased or homemade (recipe at right)
16 underripe grape tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Oil for coating grill grate.
1. Heat the grill as directed.
2. Slit the shrimp along their backs, to open up the center crevice slightly. Fill the opening in each shrimp with about ½ teaspoon pesto.
3. Arrange 3 shrimp on each skewer, alternating them with 4 grape tomatoes.
4. Mix the olive oil, salt, and peper with the remaining 1 tablespoon pesto in a small bowl. Brush the shrimp and tomatoes with some of this mixture.
5. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the prepared skewers on the grill, cover, and cook for 8 minutes, turning and basting with some of the pesto oil every 2 minutes. Baste with any remaining oil mixture and serve.