Grilled Pesto Shrimp
There are endless ways to use pesto — the Italian sauce made from olive oil, basil, garlic, nuts and Parmesan cheese — but this has to be one of my favorites. The pesto is used as a marinade and sauce for grilled shrimp, which turn out slightly charred and loaded with flavor. Whether you serve the dish for dinner with pasta and a vegetable or as an appetizer all alone, the shrimp will disappear in a flash. Trust me, no matter how much you think you’ll need, make extra!
Begin by making the pesto, which couldn’t be any easier. You simply combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
Next, pour all but two tablespoons of the fresh pesto over the shrimp. Toss to coat and let the shrimp sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to marinate.
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and grill the shrimp a few minutes per side. Be careful not to overcook them!
Before serving, toss the shrimp with the reserved pesto. I know it only looks like a little, but pesto is very strong and garlicky so you don’t want to overdo it.
Serve with lots of napkins and enjoy.
Grilled Pesto Shrimp
- 2 pounds extra large or jumbo shrimp, peeled (tails left on) and deveined
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup basil leaves
- 3 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving (optional)
- Thread the shrimp onto skewers, if desired. (I usually don't bother, unless the shrimp are on the smaller side, in which case they might slip through the grill grates.)
- In a food processor or blender, combine the olive oil, basil, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, Parmigiano-Reggiano and walnuts. Process until the mixture is well blended. Reserve two tablespoons of the pesto in a bowl large enough to hold all of the shrimp and set aside. Pour the remaining pesto over the shrimp and let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to marinate.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Lightly dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil and, using tongs, carefully rub over the grates several times until glossy and coated. Place the shrimp on the grill and cook until plump and slightly charred, a few minutes per side. Transfer the cooked shrimp to the bowl with the reserved pesto and toss to coat evenly. Serve immediately.
- Per serving (6 servings)
- Calories: 258
- Fat: 17
- Saturated fat: 3 g
- Carbohydrates: 3 g
- Sugar: 0 g
- Fiber: 0 g
- Protein: 23 g
- Cholesterol: 194 mg
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