Hail summer. Are you grill-weary yet? I love grilling, especially ever since that job was delegated to Man of the House ages ago when he insisted on replacing our corroded gas grill with a charcoal-fired Weber. I’m not about to get into the fray in the charcoal vs. gas debate. My point of view is: when it’s hot, keep the heat in the great outdoors. If you want to use charcoal, be my guest. All I want is to turn the damn thing on and cook. Go ahead, be techy-geeky-analytical if you must, but I don’t want to talk about it. Like I said, all I want is to turn the damn thing on and cook.
So in the division of labor department, I came up with these easy shrimp skewers. The rosemary plant in my little herb patch miraculously survived a New England winter and it is now a bush. That gave me the idea of putting the overabundant branches to good use. Hence, shrimp on rosemary skewers. They impart a subtle piney essence to grilled shrimp. Note the word subtle here. Don’t get too excited. Since they’re essentially free and available to me, I’m using them. You could also use bamboo skewers as an alternative; both need to be soaked in water in advance of grilling.
The recipe, which I contributed to the Boston Globe recently, is a good one for a party. (It can be doubled or even tripled.) The shrimp need to steep in a lemon-mustard-honey marinade for 45 minutes, but if it is more convenient, they can marinate for a couple of hours. Save some of the marinade for the zucchini. The zucchini wedges are easy to grill without skewering. Add some grilled corn and you have a meal that is easy to prep ahead of time. Once the work is done, you can sit back and mix up a few gin and tonics, if that’s your poison.
Grilled shrimp on rosemary branches with zucchini wedges and corn
12 (10-inch) rosemary branches
5 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons grainy mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 pounds large (16-20 count) shrimp, peeled, with tail shells left on
2 large (10-inch) zucchini, ends trimmed and halved crosswise
6 (or more) ears of corn
1. Strip the leaves from all but the tips of the rosemary branches. In a baking dish, soak the branches in water to cover for 30 minutes. If using bamboo skewers, soak them for 30 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, lemon rind, garlic, honey, mustard, salt, pepper, parsley and rosemary. Whisk in the oil. Set aside about 1/4 of the marinade. Add the shrimp to the bowl and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes. On each rosemary branch, thread 3 to 4 shrimp, piercing both the thick and curled ends of the shrimp.
3. Quarter each zucchini half lengthwise to make a total of 16 wedges. In a baking dish, arrange the wedges in one layer with the cut sides up. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and brush with the remaining marinade. Marinate for 30 minutes or longer.
4. Peel back and discard the outer tough layer of the corn husks, leaving a few layers for insulation. Peel back the top third of the husks and pull out most of the silk; don’t worry if you can’t remove all of it. Fold the husks back to their original shape.
5. Prepare a charcoal grill, or turn on a gas grill to medium-high heat.
6. Grill the corn, turning often, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until charred all over. Grill the zucchini wedges for 3 minutes on a side, turning once, until cooked through. Grill the shrimp for 2 minutes on a side, turning once, until shrimp are opaque and cooked through.
7. Cut off the stem ends of the corn ears and peel back the husks and silk. Arrange 1 ear on each of 6 plates with zucchini wedges and shrimp skewers.