On the Italian foodie blogs I follow, everyone is turning over to cold food because of the hot weather. When we have hot weather here we still eat hot food — we just prepare it outside on the grill (which we call barbecue). This is to celebrate having hot weather, which doesn’t happen too often. The grills used here are mostly charcoal or briquettes, although gas grills are becoming more popular. Although they are more easy to use, they do not become hot enough and they do not add the characteristic smoky smell. Charcoal is best.
A Dutch barbecue meal usually means lots of cheap meat with lots of sauces to cover the (lack of) flavor of the meat. This is a shame, because there are so many nice things you can prepare on a charcoal fire. Like these shrimp for instance.
Many friends and coworkers who read my blog comment that my recipes are always so difficult and complicated. That is certainly not true in this case. There are no complicated ingredients or tasks to perform. Simply combine jumbo shrimp (which you can buy peeled and deveined, although of course buying them fresh and peeling them yourself will give better results — but even I did not do that in this case) with the ingredients for the marinade, allow to marinate for half an hour, and then quickly grill over high heat on both sides. Just don’t overcook the shrimp, and don’t forget to remove the garlic before grilling (as it would brown and become bitter). This recipe is simple, but it is also delicious. The simple marinade of salt, garlic and chili flakes really brings out the flavor of the shrimp. The lime juice is only added at the end to avoid inadvertently making ceviche instead (as the shrimp would otherwise be ‘cooked’ in the lime juice).
I’m providing the recipe for 225 grams (1/2 lb) of jumbo shrimp, but you can easily scale it to the amount of shrimp you need.
For each 225 grams (1/2 lb) of jumbo shrimp, add:
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp chili flakes
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Remove the garlic with your fingers or a paper towel and put the shrimp on skewers. I like to use metal skewers as they won’t burn and can be recycled. When the grill (barbecue) is hot and the rack is clean, grill the skewers with shrimp for 30 seconds on each side, and repeat to grill for another 30 seconds on each side.
This is great with many crispy dry whites, like a nice sauvignon blanc.
Pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese is a substantial dish, so unlike other pasta dishes that are supposed to serve as part of a menu, pizzoccheri are typically served as piatto unico, a full meal consisting of just this one dish. It is not really a summer dish, but with the cold weather we’ve been having it may be a better choice than the grilled shrimp…