Monday, September 2, 2013

Grilled Watermelon and Shrimp [Rhonda]

More Louisville influence from Jack Fry's restaurant...

Like I mentioned in a previous post, our whole family was in Louisville, KY, as support crew for Matt's Ironman race last weekend. (He did extremely well, by the way, finishing in the top third of the participants. Whoomp! There it is!)

This grilled watermelon and shrimp recipe was inspired by an appetizer I had at Jack Fry's: crispy pork belly with watermelon, watermelon radish (tricky to find), ginger vinaigrette, cantaloupe coulis and sesame seeds, topped with fried leeks.

Food Network chef Cat Cora posted a recipe that I used as a base. This makes a refreshing dinner salad, or, as a small plate appetizer.

Degree of difficulty: moderate
Time: prep 40 minutes, grill time for shrimp and watermelon 10 minutes
Serves: 4


1 lb. large shrimp, defrosted if frozen, cleaned and deveined, tails left on

2 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
2 bell peppers...1 red, 1 orange, cored, seeded and chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
3 sprigs cilantro, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup olive oil
2 limes, halved
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
Salt and pepper

1 small seedless watermelon, halved, then sliced into 1/2 inch wedges, rind on
Unsweetened coconut, toasted for garnish
1 scallion, sliced for garnish
3 cilantro sprigs, chopped for garnish

Optional (but fab) salad addition:
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup jicama, diced
Applewood smoked bacon
Ponzu sauce
Olive oil

A couple of tomatoes, a few chunks of crispy applewood smoked bacon, a handful of jicama, some arugula, and some fresh cilantro, chopped, will make a nice salad to slide under the shrimp and grilled watermelon. Toss these with a splash of ponzu sauce and olive oil.

Preheat the grill.
In a small sauce pan over medium heat, add the water and the sugar. Cook over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Pour 1 cup of the syrup into a small bowl and set aside. To the remaining syrup, add the red and orange peppers, jalapenos, garlic and cilantro and simmer on medium heat for 35 to 45 minutes or until thickened and marmalade-like. (I added a splash of soy sauce and some lime juice to cut the intense sweetness.)

Toast the coconut for garnish. Once finished, it can sit for a bit while you do the rest.

Toss the shrimp in a bowl with half of the olive oil, juice of 1 lime, cayenne, chili powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Let marinate 20 to 30 minutes. Place on the hot grill and grill each side until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside.

Prepare the watermelon for the grill. Place the watermelon on a plate and brush each side with the reserved sugar syrup and the remaining olive oil. (I used a sprinkle of salt instead of the simple syrup...) Place on the grill and cook on both sides, about 2 minutes.

If using the optional salad, arrange it on the plate first. Once the red and orange pepper marmalade is thickened, place watermelon on plate (I removed the rind and cut it into chunks) with shrimp on top. Squeeze the remaining lime over it and spoon on the marmalade. Garnish with coconut and scallions and serve.

Suggested soundtrack: "We Will Rock You" by Queen. Brilliant race, Matt. Way to crush 'em.

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