Food Daily Dish

Test Kitchen video tip: Soak wooden skewers before grilling

Before you throw your next batch of skewers on the grill, take some time to soak the wood before threading the food. Wooden skewers, like the classic bamboo skewers pictured above, can burn easily over a hot grill. Soaking them in warm water for 10 to 30 minutes before threading will keep the skewers from cooking along with the food.

Continue reading below for a great recipe for Grilled shrimp skewers with charmoula.

Cooking is fun — at least it should be! No matter how long you’ve been in the kitchen, there is always something new to learn, whether it’s a simple twist on an old technique, or a handy tip to save time and energy. In this series of short videos, I demonstrate a variety of kitchen tips, ranging from how to hold a chef’s knife for maximum control to using a spoon to peel fresh ginger. If you have any gadgets, kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment or shoot me an email at noelle.carter@latimes.

GRILLED SHRIMP SKEWERS WITH CHARMOULA

Total time: 15 minutes, plus marinating time | Serves 2 to 4

Note: This recipe calls for bamboo skewers.

    1 pound cleaned, tail-on jumbo shrimp (12 to 16)
    Charmoula (See related recipe), divided
    1 large lemon, sliced crosswise into 1/8 -inch slices
    Oil for the grill

1. Combine the shrimp and one-third cup charmoula in a large nonreactive bowl or resealable plastic bag and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Ten minutes before removing the shrimp from the refrigerator, soak the bamboo skewers in water to prevent the wood from burning.

2. Remove the shrimp from the marinade and thread with the lemon slices onto the prepared bamboo skewers.

3. Heat the grill over medium-high heat. When the grill is hot, oil the rack and place the skewers on top. Grill the skewers until the shrimp are puffy, pink and opaque, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve immediately with the remaining charmoula sauce.

Each of 4 servings: 172 calories; 18 grams protein; 2 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 5 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 168 mg. cholesterol; 218 mg. sodium.

CHARMOULA

Total time: 20 minutes | Makes scant 1 cup

Note: Store the charmoula for up to 1 week, refrigerated, in an airtight jar or plastic bag.

    4 garlic cloves, minced
    1 tablespoon minced ginger
    1/2 cup chopped parsley
    1/3 cup chopped cilantro
    Zest and juice of 1 lemon
    2 teaspoons sweet Spanish paprika
    Pinch cayenne powder
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1 dried bay leaf, crumbled
    Pinch saffron
    1/2 cup olive oil
    1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Using a mortar and pestle, or in the bowl of a food processor, grind the garlic and ginger to a paste. Add the chopped parsley, cilantro and lemon zest and coarsely mash. Stir in the lemon juice. Stir in the paprika, cayenne, cumin, bay leaf and saffron and grind to incorporate.

2. Slowly pour in the olive oil while blending to form an emulsion, then stir in the salt. Adjust the seasoning as necessary, then cover and refrigerate at least 1 day before using.

Each tablespoon: 64 calories; 0 protein; 1 gram carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 7 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 38 mg. sodium.

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