WE ARE ADDICTED TO GRILLING, especially shish kabobs, with grilled vegetables on skewers a particular obsession. This weekend we splurged on shrimp from Whole Foods, giving them a nod via our wallet for being one of the first to ban “red” fish, which they announced on Earth Day this year. The designation is for fish “that are considered either overfished or fished in a manner that impacts other species or damages marine ecosystems.” These things matter to us.
Roasted Jalapeno, Tomato & Shrimp Garlic Linguini was on the menu, served with Pinot Grigrio, which is a light, crisp white wine out of Italy. It was a gastronomical success, with the roasted plum tomatoes acting as the dressing for the linguini. If you’re considering making marinara any time soon, I’d suggest roasting your tomatoes for the sauce.
You’ve really got to watch the amount of roasted jalapenos you dice and include, the seeds the siren, because they add a foundation of heat that water won’t cool. However, you can just as easily leave them out or substitute red pepper flakes. I roasted the jalapenos separately, because we keep them around for a lot of other dishes.
The oil I prefer for grilling is canola, as it has no taste, but more importantly has a high heat threshold that’s a must to protect gourmet delicacies. There are obviously other choices.
On stiff skewers, alternate halved plum tomatoes and shrimp, with peeled cloves of garlic interspersed throughout. We use garlic generously, but you won’t recognize it once it’s grilled, which reduces the pungent sharpness to a very mild smoky flavor. One note: Next time I’m going to skewer the shrimp separately, because I prefer strong grill marks. Cooking time depends on the grill, but you’re looking at under 7 minutes, regardless of method. Watch the tomatoes, because they’ll fall apart quickly if overcooked and the juice is needed for the pasta.
Pasta to me is a sheer indulgence, because I’m a gym and fitness rat who watches calories diligently. If I’m having pasta it’s a rare treat and is my preference over rice, which I just don’t eat. One of the very best pastas on the market is Whole Foods organic from Italy, which also isn’t expensive. I’ve tried most of the boxed pastas and it’s flawless, as long as you don’t overcook it, which is the rule for all pasta.
Before the pasta is done, in a large skillet on the lowest level you’ve got available, pour in some olive oil and the diced jalapenos. After the pasta is finished, take it from water to the warm olive oil and jalapeno mixture, making sure to coat the pasta completely. I always put pasta in warm olive oil or whatever sauce I’ve prepared after it’s finished boiling. The sauce permeates the warm noodles, which is as important as the salt you put in the water before boiling. From there the mixture goes into your serving dish.
From the skewers, only the roasted garlic requires any further attention. You can dice, press or smash the roast garlic, adding it to the pasta and tossing it, along with the tomatoes and shrimp. I also grate Parmesan cheese as a finisher.
Crisp Pinot Griogio to toast and you’ve got a yummy grilled dish that’s also healthy, not to mention eco-friendly.
What did you grill this weekend? …and if you didn’t grill anything, get on it!