Hi, and welcome to the first post on Sweet & Sorrel!
I thought a lot about what I wanted to prepare for the very first dish on Sweet & Sorrel, and behold! Grilled Jerk Shrimp Skewers. This dish is worthy of being the first recipe to be featured on the blog because it’s delicious, healthy, full of flavors from the Caribbean, and only takes about 15 minutes to prepare!
Now you might be thinking to yourself, Danielle, a jerk recipe? How mainstream! While it’s true that “jerk” foods are now common outside of the Caribbean (think jerk chicken, jerk pork etc), few people actually understand what jerk seasoning is or know how to prepare it from scratch.
Jerk seasoning is a flavorful, robust, seasoning common in Jamaican cuisine. Jerk seasoning comes in two main forms: a dry jerk rub, or a wet marinade. The dry rub is usually for things like pork, while the wet rub is used to both as a seasoning and a garnish that is brushed on top of prepared meats. Today, I’ll show you how to make a wet jerk marinade to go with our shrimp.
Ok, so now that you know generally what jerk seasoning is, your next thought is probably how “how do I make a jerk marinade?” Its simple! A wet jerk marinade takes only a few minutes to make and uses ingredients like fresh ginger, thyme, garlic, and less common ingredients like “scotch bonnet” (the Jamaican name for a habanero or very spicy pepper) and pimento (dried all spice).
The ingredients are blended together to create a sweet, tangy sauce that has a distinct Caribbean flavor. I mean, just look at this beauty! TASTY!
Let’s recap. Grilled Jerk Shrimp Skewers. Make a quick marinade by blending hot peppers, garlic, green onions, all spice, and seasonings together, then leave the shrimp in the marinade for a few hours, or preferably overnight. When you’re ready to cook, just remove the shrimp from the marinade and place the shrimps onto wooden skewers that have been soaked in water to prevent them from burning. Then, grill the skewers on medium high heat until the shrimps turn pink, as they will continue to cook once they are removed from the heat. Once the skewers are off the grill, brush with more of the marinade and DONE.
You can serve these grilled jerk shrimp skewers on top of a salad, or pair them with some coconut rice (maybe even coconut cauliflower rice?!). The possibilities are endless.
For the shrimp
- 2 lbs shrimp, peeled and de-vained
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- bunch cilantro, for garnish
For the jerk marinade
- 1 habanero (scotch bonnet) pepper, finely chopped and seeds removed
- 1 stalk green onions (scallion), finely chopped
- 10 balls, dried all spice (pimento), crushed
- 1 small cooking tomato, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 3 springs fresh thyme
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- juice of 1 small lime
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Marinade: add all of the ingredients for the marinade into a food processor and pulse, being careful not to over process. The mixture should be thick and chunky.
- In a medium bowl, pour 3/4th of the jerk marinade over the shrimp. Toss to coat the shrimp with the marinade and let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or preferably overnight.
- When you are ready to prepare the skewers, preheat your grill to medium high. Remove the shrimp from the marinade and put 4 shrimp on each skewer. (Tip: soak the skewers in water for 10 minutes to prevent them from burning).
- Brush the grill with olive oil. Grill the shrimp for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until they become pink. The shrimp will continue to cook once removed from the grill.
- Brush each skewer with the reserve marinade, garnish with cilantro and enjoy!
Makes 4 servings