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This is my take on Gambas a la Plancha, or grilled shrimp. Brining the shrimp is an absolute must for texture and flavor. The rice is a very simple version of Spanish rice. Be sure to use good pimenton, or smoked paprika for the shrimp.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes plus 1 hour brining    Serving Size: 4

  • 1 pound large shrimp (no smaller than 21 count)
  • 1/8 cup kosher salt
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 4 cups water (approximate)
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron (plus 1/4 cup hot water)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion or half a medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/4 cup long grain white rice
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) whole canned tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons pimenton, or smoked paprika (approximate)
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • grill-safe skewers for the shrimp
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In a 4 cup glass measuring cup or heat proof bowl large enough to accommodate 1 quart, heat 1 cup water in the microwave until just hot. Add 1/8 cup each kosher salt and sugar. Stir to dissolve both salt and sugar. Add about 1 cup ice cubes and stir to melt. Fill with water to the 4 cup mark of the measuring cup and stir. Peel the shrimp leaving the last segment and tail attached, if desired. Devein, rinse and place in large bowl with a lid. Pour the brine over the shrimp and stir well. Cover and refrigerate for only 1 hour. In the mean time, make the rice.

Steep saffron in 1/4 cup hot water while preparing the onions and garlic. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onions and stir. Sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt. Sauté until just starting to soften, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add minced garlic and stir. After 1 minute, add long grain rice and stir quickly to coat. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir once to combine. Pour in the chicken stock and stir once to mix. Now add the saffron and its steeping liquid. Stir once and cover. Set a timer for 15 minutes. Raise heat to medium-high for 4 minutes, until rice start to boil. Without lifting the lid or stirring, lower heat to medium-low and cook for the remainder of the 15 minutes. Once 15 minutes is up, turn off the heat, remove the lid and quickly fluff the rice with a fork. Place the lid back on and let it sit undisturbed for another 15 minutes. Fluff again with a fork. Cover again and allow to sit again undisturbed while preparing the shrimp on the grill.

Heat a gas grill to high or prepare a moderate charcoal grill for direct grilling. Drain shrimp, rinse lightly, then place on paper towels and pat completely dry. Lay the shrimp flat out and pierce the skewer through one shrimp close to the shell segment left at the end of the shrimp. Use another skewer to pierce through the top of the same shrimp parallel with the first skewer. Slide more shrimp on the double skewers to fit. Using two skewers will help the shrimp to not rotate while grilling. Once all shrimp have been skewered, generously sprinkle on both sides with pimenton and lightly with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Turn the gas grill down to medium-high, clean and oil the grates and grill uncovered 3 to 4 minutes a side. Remove to a platter and allow to rest while serving the rice.

Fluff the rice once again and place a serving size portion on the center of a plate. Remove shrimp from skewers and place on the rice. Sprinkle with a little olive oil and more pimento to taste if desired. Serve with grilled green onions for an extra treat.


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