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~ Open Sesame: Asian Shrimp & Scallop Skewers ~

IMG_8523Every time I make this recipe I can't help but think fondly of two of our former tennis friends: Hank and Becky Yeagley.  Joe and I met both of them at the Penn State Tennis Center and we four became great and good friends.  They both biked, hiked and played tennis well into their '80's, Hank coached his granddaughters soccer team, and, when Joe put the grass tennis court in our backyard (a very big deal here in Central, Pennsylvania), they came here often to play a couple of sets of doubles with us on the easy-on-the-knees cushioning that a grass court provides. Over the years, our court has been a great source of enjoyment for us and our many tennis friends. It's seen some high-powered action by professionals, semi-professionals, collegiate coaches and players, USTA officials, tennis teachers and club level league players, but, some of my fondest memories are of Hank and Becky and those relaxing afternoons we spent on and off the court! 

PICT4679Joe just gave our court its first of many weekly mowings (w/a special greens mower) and a dousing of necessary fertilizers.  In two weeks, this is going to be a lush, green carpet and the reason for a lot of fun-filled outdoor entertaining. Whenever we have players on the court, off the court there's a cooler of beverages and snacks in the gazebo. Occasionally, we host an outdoor dinner party afterward too!

PICT4696June 15th is our annual, official: grass court opening day!

Or, at least we strive for June 15th. Due to the past few days of rain, I doubt we'll be on court this weekend, but, I'm going to celebrate anyway with my official grass court tennis season opening-day cocktail. You can find:  ~ June 15th:  It's Time for Mel's "Big Pink Drinks" ~ in Categories 10 or 11!

Women adore these drinks and Becky was no exception.  Because they are pink, men underestimate them, and Hank was no exception. In addition to the cocktails,  I always made these appetizers, especially for Hank, because he loved them:

Sesame Shrimp & Scallop Skewers!!!

Besides being easy to prepare, this recipe, as written, makes a lot, and, I'm posting it as such because it's one of my go-to recipes when I'm having 12 friends for a get-together! 

IMG_837248  extra-jumbo shrimp (16-20 count), peeled and deveined, tails-on

24  large sea scallops

6 tablespoons sesame seeds, more or less

1/2  cup Thai seasoning soy sauce, preferably Golden Mountain brand

1/2  cup lime juice, preferably fresh, but in this application high-quality organic, not-from-concentrate, bottled lime juice works just fine too

1/2  cup sesame oil

1/4   cup minced, fresh ginger (4 tablespoons), about a 3 1/2-ounce piece of unpeeled ginger

4-6  cloves garlic, run through a garlic press (1 tablespoon)

2  fresh limes, sliced in half

additional lime wedges, for garnish

minced cilantro or cilantro sprigs, for garnish

Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce and additional soy sauce, for dipping or drizzling


~ Step 1.  Choose your weapon:

The skewers can be any length.  I'm using 11" skewers today.  They can be metal or bamboo. Because my sesame shrimp and scallop skewers get broiled*, not grilled, there is no need to soak bamboo skewers in water for 20-30 minutes.

The trick to skewering food so it does not irritatingly spin around on the skewer when you try to turn it over to cook on the second side IMG_8368is: double skewer your ingredients. Pushing two skewers through the food stabilizes it.  This means, you'll need twice as many skewers as the recipe calls for, unless you own "double skewers".  I invested in 12 metal ones (instead of bamboo) because they are reusable.

*Why the broiler and not the barbecue?  Because the shrimp and scallops will be sprinkled with sesame seeds.  On the barbecue, sesame seeds burn before the seafood has a chance to cook through.  The heat of the broiler controls the temperature perfectly!

PICT0006~ Step 2.  Choose your seafood:

PICT4056Whether I am barbecuing or grilling, I recommend using big 16-20 count shrimp and large even-sized sea scallops.  

Why?  Because in the dry heat of the broiler or the grill, the "big guys" stay succulent and juicy in the center.  Even if you shorten the cooking time, to accomodate smaller shrimp and scallops, dry heat causes them to become rubbery and chewy.

Peel and devein the shrimp as directed above, leaving the tails on.

IMG_8394~ Step 3.  Prepare the marinade:

IMG_8391Peel and chop the ginger into 1/2" chunks and place them in the work bowl of a mini-food processor fitted with a steel blade.  

Using a series of 30-40 rapid on-off pulses, finely mince the ginger (just short of pureeing it).

You will have 1/4 cup (+ or - a bit, minced ginger.  Use all of it.

IMG_8402 IMG_8407~ Step 4. Double two, 2-gallon food storage bags to form one sturdy bag.  Do this because the shrimp tails are sharp and will poke holes in one single bag.  Add the soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, ginger and garlic.  Add shrimp and scallops.  Close bag, and toss until seafood is evenly coated.

Place bag in the refrigerator to marinate for 1 hour, stopping to retoss about every 15 minutes. Do not marinate longer than 1 hour as the acidic lime juice will render the seafood mushy.

IMG_8415~ Step 5.  Line 3, 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pans with parchment paper.

~ Step 6.  Remove seafood from refrigerator.  On each of 12, 11" "double skewers", alternate 2 shrimp and 1 scallop.  Repeat, placing a total of 6 pieces of seafood on each skewer.  Place 4 skewers of seafood on all pans. Sprinkle tops with sesame seeds.

IMG_8439~ Step 7.  One-at-a-time, broil each pan of shrimp and scallop skewers, 4-5 inches underneath the heat, until the seafood turns white and semi-firm, about 3 1/2-4 minutes, per side, removing from oven, to turn them onto the second side to broil, only once (7-8 total minutes). Remove from oven, squirt fresh lime juice over the tops and set aside to cool 1-2 minutes, to allow residual heat (from the hot skewers) to finish-cook them to perfection.

Serve with lime wedges, minced cilantro or sprigs for garnish, and, Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce and soy sauce for dipping or drizzling.  Whether you serve the seafood on or off the skewers is your choice.  For suggested accompaniments, read my Cook's Note below and stack 'em up!

IMG_8562Open Sesame:  Asian Shrimp & Scallop Skewers:  Recipe yields 12, 11" skewers of seafood.  If served with accompaniments, this recipe will yield 12 main-course servings.  If serving as appetizers with dipping sauce, this will yeild 18 servings of 4 pieces of seafood each.

Special Equipment List:  mini-food processor; 2, 2-gallon food storage bags; 3, 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pans; parchment paper; 12, 11" "double skewers" or 24, 11" skewers; tongs (to flip hot skewers over onto the second side)

IMG_8341 PICT0009Cook's Note: As pictured above, I like to serve my sesame shrimp and scallop skewers accompanied by my recipe for ~ Easy Thai Style Broccoli & Jasmine Rice Patties ~, along with some grilled pineapple slices.  

I grill the fresh (not canned) pineapple slices several hours in advance.  I prep the patties while the seafood is marinating, then fry them while the seafood is broiling. You can find this easy recipe in Categories 1, 4, 13, 14 or 20!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2013) 


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