Caribbean Shrimp Skewers & Plantains

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It’s grilling season and I am all over it. The days are long, and the sky is beautiful. There’s a cool breeze still running through Colorado and I love being outside. What do you say we fire up the grill, and make some shrimp skewers?!

I’m feeling inspired because I’m having some friends fly in from Miami. Caribbean flavors are all around Miami, so what better way to celebrate than with these easy shrimp skewers, some twice fried green plantains, and Spanish yellow rice?…Oh yeah!

Have you ever heard of fried green plantains? They are so delicious. A common side in many Caribbean dishes, these large green bananas have a pleasant starchy texture.

This classic Caribbean side is easy to prepare. Just peel, slice, and fry on medium high heat. Once they turn a light golden brown, take them out, flatten them, and throw them back into the fryer for a minute. Salt them as soon as they come out. The result is a super crunchy outside, and soft  inside. You know what else, these same green bananas turn into the sweetest thing you’ll ever try when you let them ripen. When the outer skin on the plantain turns black–yes, black–they are ready to be fried, but that’s a whole other recipe. Give this post a like if you want me to share that recipe, too!

Now let’s get back to our shrimp. These marinated shrimp will cook within a few minutes on the grill. Just place the skewers over indirect heat, and they will cook perfectly. The veggies and mango add a nice contrast too. If you can’t find mango (hard to find here in Colorado), you can substitute it for grilled pineapple. Yum!

There is a strong mix of flavors in this marinade. The aleppo pepper is a mildly spicy chili and the cumin has a fragrant curry flavor. Countered by the citrus, this marinade is good on any meat, poultry, or fish. You can make this marinade ahead, or just before grilling time. Shrimp cook so quickly that overnight marinade is not really necessary. The Caribbean flavors will indeed be present. You might even have the neighbors checking to see what you’re grilling. Let’s eat.

Here is the recipe:

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Servings: Varies

Ingredients:

  • 36 frozen raw medium shrimp; tail on, cleaned, deveined and thawed.
  • 18 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, medium chopped
  • 2 medium green bell peppers, medium chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, medium chopped
  • 2 large semi ripe mangoes, cubed
  • 1 Tbsp salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 Tbsp black ground pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 Tbsp of Aleppo pepper
  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp of garlic powder
  • ½ Tbsp of cumin powder
  • ½ cup of fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup of fresh orange juice
  • ½ Tbsp of oregano
  • 3 large green plantains
  • 1 pack of your favorite seasoned yellow rice (I used Vigo brand Spanish rice)
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish, finely chopped
  • ½ cup of green peas, frozen

Directions for shrimp marinade:

  1. In a large glass bowl, add the salt, black ground pepper, aleppo pepper, olive oil, garlic powder, cumin powder, lime juice, orange juice, and oregano.
  2. Whisk all the ingredients together and add the shrimp. Stir to coat the shrimp in the marinade.
  3. Let sit for 15 minutes while you chop the veggies and fire up the grill.

Directions for the Tostones (fried plantains):

  1. Run the tip of a knife through the skin of the green plantain and remove it.
  2. Cut the plantain into 1” inch pieces.
  3. Set a deep frying pan on medium heat with sufficient oil to cover each plantain submerged in oil. One cup of vegetable or canola oil should be enough.
  4. When the oil starts to glimmer, turn down the heat to medium low.
  5. Using a skimmer, carefully add the plantains to the hot oil.
  6. As soon as they turn light golden brown remove them. Place them on a cutting board or flat surface.
  7. Turn your heat a notch lower while you flatten the plantains.
  8. Take a porcelain coffee mug, or any solid flat surface item, and press down on each plantain. Note: Typically this step is done with a tostonera which is a wooden,or plastic plantain press found in latin food markets or specialty stores. However, any flat surface will work.
  9. Once your plantains are flattened, raise the temperature of your frying pan. Medium low is a good temperature to avoid them from burning. They will cook quickly, so be attentive.
  10. Fry each plantain for 1 to 2 minutes per side. They will be golden and crispy.
  11. Carefully remove them and place them on a paper towel lined plate to remove any excess oil.
  12. Salt them to taste. Enjoy!

Directions for the shrimp skewers:

  1. Using the pre soaked skewers, insert the veggies, mango, and shrimp.
  2. Follow step 1 until you use all of your ingredients.
  3. Place the skewers on the grill over indirect heat and grill them for 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Directions for the yellow rice:

  1. Make the yellow rice as per package instructions. I added green peas to my rice before cooking, and garnished with fresh parsley, but you can leave yours as is.

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