I haven’t always been a fan of shrimp. In the not so distant past, I didn’t like them at all. However, they’ve really grown on me (thanks to Eric, who really likes shrimp and is the only reason I kept trying them). I should’ve realized sooner that grilling them would do the trick for me because I will eat almost anything if it’s grilled. I first served these at my 24×24 party in January, and they disappeared quickly. I suspect that, now that the weather is more suited for grilling, we’ll be making these several more times throughout the summer.
The glaze is what makes these shrimp so delicious. With dark rum and brown sugar, how could it not? I was a little concerned that the cinnamon and cloves wouldn’t go well with the shrimp, but I loved the earthy flavor they provided. Grilling the shrimp over high heat allows the glaze to caramelize, which boosts the flavor and brings out the glaze’s sweetness. You can definitely taste the rum, but it’s not overpowering. Rather, it works in combination with the other ingredeients to give this dish lots of flavor and some Caribbean flair. Though you can’t really tell from the photos, the shrimp are skewered with sugar cane. I found the sugar cane swizzle sticks, oddly enough, in the produce department of my local store. The sugar cane does add some sweetness to the shrimp, but regular skewers will work just fine.
Rum Glazed Shrimp
Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer
For the marinade:
24 jumbo shrimp (1 to 1 1/2 pounds), shelled and deveined
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the glaze:
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup dark rum
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of salt
1 package sugar cane swizzle sticks (optional)
Vegetable oil, for the grill
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Allow to sit for 15 minutes while preparing the glaze.
In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter, rum, mustard, vinegar, cinnamon, cloves, pepper and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, until thick and syrupy, 5 to 8 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Remove from heat and set aside. Cut the sugar cane crosswise on the diagonal into 5-inch sections, then halve each section lengthwise. You can prepare the recipe several hours in advance up to this step.
Set up your grill for direct grilling. Using a bamboo skewer, make two starter holes in each shrimp. Skewer the shrimp with the sugar cane. Brush the grill grate with oil. Grill the shrimp until cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side, generously basting with the glaze. Serve additional glaze alongside.
Adapted from Steve Raichlen via Food and Wine