Tidings Cooking Challenge — Grilled Shrimp and Pancetta Skewers
The Tidings Cooking Challenge is an opportunity for food lovers to try their hand at creating something together. Not all in the same kitchen, of course. Rather, try the recipe in your own time and then come back and tell us what you thought of it. You can add your comments directly underneath the post, or send a photo of your creation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preparing skewers might take a bit of time, but, once the hard work is done, they’re a breeze to cook and eat. Perfect for grilling season, practically any ingredient can be threaded onto skewers. I’ve even seen sandwiches deconstructed, each component — bread, sliced meat, tomatoes, cheese, etc. — pushed (in order) onto a skewer. This recipe for Grilled Shrimp and Pancetta Skewers offers grilling aficionados an opportunity to whip up something quick and delicious. You can use regular bacon instead of pancetta if you’d prefer. Pancetta is cut from pork belly and has been cured for about three weeks. It tastes considerably less salty than typical North American-style bacon. Some Northern Italian regions produce a lovely smoked pancetta that lends a deeper flavour than the regular type. Don’t forget to serve the Chickpea Salsa along with it for an interesting twist on a classic.
Just a note about skewers. If you’re using wooden ones, remember to soak them for about 20 minutes before you use them. The water they soak up will keep them from charring on the grill and limit the number of splinters that occur when skewering. Metal skewers are great, but I have found that food will spin around the skewers as I try to flip them. Metal, of course, also absorbs a lot more heat than wood. Be careful not to burn your fingers!
Grilled Shrimp and Pancetta with Chickpea Salsa
24 large (31 to 35 per lb) shrimp
1/2 lb pancetta, thinly sliced
Chickpea Salsa (recipe follows)
1. Peel shrimp, devein and rinse. Divide pancetta into 24 equal pieces. Tightly wrap a pancetta slice around each shrimp.
2. Push a skewer through the pancetta and shrimp just above the shrimp’s tail and out through the pancetta at the fat end of the shrimp. Place two or more shrimp on each skewer depending on size of shrimp. Continue until skewers are complete.
3. Lay shrimp on a grill. Turn frequently until nicely browned.
Serve alongside Chickpea Salsa and a glass of Riesling.
8 oz can chickpeas, drained
1 cup fresh cilantro
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 cup lime juice
Purée all ingredients, except salt and pepper, in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.