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Grilled Orange Ginger Prawns
Summer in the Pacific NW
We are in the dog-days of summer in the Pacific Northwest--hot humid days and (thankfully) evenings cooled with a sweet ocean breeze.
...What are the "dog days of summer"?
The Romans associated hot weather with the star Sirius. They called Siris the "Dog Star" because it is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog). "Dog Days" were the days when Sirius rose just before or at the same time as sunrise. The Romans sacrificed a red dog in April to appease the rage of the star Sirius--thinking that the star was the cause of hot weather.
Dog Days were thought to be an evil time when "the sea boiled, the wine turned sour, dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid" (Clavis Calendaria, 1813).
How this recipe came to be
This is prime grilling weather, but hamburgers, hot dogs, and even chicken on the grill can become a bit monotonous after a while. I love "shrimp on the barbie" and so played in my kitchen this afternoon to find a new flavor combination.
Equipment you will need
- bamboo skewers (soak in water for at least 20 minutes before cooking will begin)
- small saucepan
- pastry brush
- gas, charcoal, or electric grill
- 1 1/2 cups orange juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
- 2 tsp. fresh ginger root, grated
- 2 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp. lime juice
- 2 pounds large shrimp peeled and deveined, (about 1/2 pound per person)
- Pour orange juice into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 8 minutes). Set aside to cool slightly.
- Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in marmalade, fresh ginger root, soy sauce, and lime juice. Set aside.
- Thread 4 or 5 (depending on size) shrimp on each bamboo skewer, piercing each near the head and the tail. Don't crowd them together too closely--you want them to cook evenly.
- Preheat grill to medium hot, or about 325 to 350 degrees. (The grill is medium hot if you can hold your hand about 4 inches above the coals for only 6 to 8 seconds).
- Oil the grill lightly; place the skewered shrimp directly on the grill over medium heat.
- Grill for 2 to 3 minutes on one side and then turn. Brush with orange sauce; continue grilling 1 to 2 more minutes until they turn pink, then remove from heat immediately. Do not overcook or they will become tough and rubbery.
- Brush shrimp once again with sauce. Serve additional sauce on the side.
Why this recipe works
- Reducing orange juice concentrates the flavor and makes it syrupy.
- Honey provides a distinctive, multi-layered sweetness unlike simple white or brown sugar
- Fresh ginger root provides a bit of heat
- Orange marmalade has a bit of bitterness to offset the tang of orange juice and the sweetness of the honey. The consistency of the marmalade also helps to thicken the sauce so that it will more easily cling to the prawns.
In all, many layers of flavors combine to make an but complex basting sauce.
© 2013 Linda Lum