Proscuitto-Wrapped Shrimp with Blackberry Mint Sauce

proscuitto-wrapped shrimp
Shrimp just loves to take on other flavors, especially hot ones.  My favorite spice for lighting up shrimp is mace, as you may have seen in a previous recipe.  If you happen to be assaulted while enjoying this dish, just rub the shrimp in your assailant’s eyes.  Plus, you can poke him with the pointy end of the skewer.

Makes: 4 self-defense skewers
Total kitchen time: 20 minutes

Shopping list:

  • 1 dz. uncooked medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
  • 6 slices Prosciutto de Parma
  • 4 bamboo skewers, soaked in cold water
  • 1/4 tsp. ground mace
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 tbsp. blackberry preserves
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped mint leaves
  • 3 tbsp. tawny port
  • sea salt, to taste
  1. Preheat your grill on medium high.
  2. Slice each piece of prosciutto lengthwise and carefully wrap it around a shrimp.  Skewer the shrimp through the tail and the thickest part so it stays securely on the skewer.  Repeat for the remaining shrimp, three to a skewer.
  3. Lightly salt and pepper the wrapped shrimp skewers.  Then, sprinkle with the mace.  Adjust the amount to your personal preference – remember, this stuff is pretty strong.  Refrigerate the skewers until you’re ready to grill.
  4. In a small saucepan, combine the blackberry preserves, chopped mint and port.  Heat until boiling over medium heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.  If you’re sauce is slightly lumpy or coagulated, pour it into a small food processor and run on high for 90 seconds. 
  5. Grill the shrimp skewers over high heat for 1 minute or so per side.  They won’t take long, so be careful not to overcook.  Plate up and enjoy!

Of course, these skewers would pair nicely with melon or cilantro as well.  Just be careful – those are weapons you’re holding.  Hot, delicious weapons.  Mmmmm….

Grilled Endive with Smoked Salmon and Lemongrass Beurre Blanc

endive with salmon
Admittedly, this is probably not a recipe that you’ll bring to your next block party (depending on the block).  Nor will you see this dish arranged on a paper plate alongside baked beans and an Oscar Meyer Wiener.  Nope, this is a different kind of grill fare, made for epicurean ambassadors of outdoor cooking who aren’t afraid to cook a beurre blanc over the coals of a kettle grill.  If your next outdoor party calls for something a little more delicate than frozen burgers, give this recipe a shot.

Makes: 6 elegant endive bites
Total kitchen time: 40 minutes

Shopping list:

  • 3 heads of Belgan Endive (or try Escarole)
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped lemongrass
  • 3 tbsp. champagne (or sweet white wine)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cold
  • 1/4 lb. smoked salmon
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • sea salt, to taste
  1. Preheat your grill over low heat.  If your grill has multiple zones, set the front zone to medium high and leave the back zone off.  You can also make this recipe in the oven, but you’ll miss all the sunshine flavor.
  2. Slice each head on endive lengthwise and coat all sides with olive oil.  Lightly salt both sides of the endive. 
  3. Place the endive, round side down, on the cool area of your grill and close the lid.  Grill, turning once, for 15 minutes per side.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, add the lemongrass and sweat it for 1-2 minutes over medium heat.  Add the champagne or wine and boil for another 1-2 minutes or until the liquid has reduced to a syrupy consistency.  Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Working 1 tsp. at a time, add the cold butter while constantly whisking.  The butter should not melt right away and at no point should it start to bubble.  Wait until each tsp. of butter is completely absorbed until you add the next one.  If the butter stops melting in to the sauce, put the pan over low heat for just a moment.  Just don’t stop whisking!  Once the butter is completely added, your sauce is done. 
  6. Crumble some of the smoked salmon over the cut side of the endive and top with a small amount of the beurre blanc.  Season with a sprinkling of sea salt, to taste.

These elegant treats are sure to turn heads at your next back yard party.  They pair very well with dry white wine, or white wine sangria.  So, don your finest linen pants and get eating!