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~Grilled Shrimp and Asparagus Cocktail w/Lemon Dip~

IMG_2266How much would you pay for this in an upscale restaurant?  About $8.00 as an appetizer? Perhaps $12.00 as a lunch entrée?  Both sound fare to me, but, truth told, this small plate of happiness is so good I'd happily pay more.  'Tis true, rake my shrimp cocktail over some hot coals and I'll follow you anywhere -- and pay a tidy sum for it too.  Add a few slices of grilled bread, uncork a bottle of white wine, and invite a few guests to join you too -- it's that impressive.

IMG_2280For the pucker-up lemon sauce for seafood or vegetables:

Oh yes, BIG yes, this concoction is great with many things, but, if you're looking for a pucker-up creamy lemon dip to serve with grilled seafood or vegetables, stop reading, grab a few pantry staples and mix this one together.  It'll only take five minutes, and oh yes, you can thank me later. On our patio, we love to dip grilled shrimp and/or grilled asparagus in it as an hors d'oeuvre, but, I won't lie, it's just as good slathered on a Maryland-style crab cake sandwich (or a grilled or roasted chicken sandwich) too.  There's more.  To give it a drizzly consistency (to use as a creamy-dreamy lemon salad dressing), simply stir more of the vinaigrette into the mayonnaise.

IMG_2081For the lemon-infused, white balsamic vinaigrette:

1/2  cup white balsamic vinegar

1/4  cup lemon-infused olive oil

2  tablespoons sugar

1  tablespoon Dijon mustard

1  teaspoon dried herbes de Provence

Step 1.  In a 1-cup container with a tight-fitting lid and pourer top, place all ingredients. Vigorously shake until well-combined.  Use as a marinade and/or dress salad and store leftovers in refrigerator.

IMG_2207 IMG_2207~ Step 2.  To make 1/2 cup of this creamy condiment, mix together 1/2 cup mayonnaise and 2 tablespoons lemon-infused EVOO & white-balsamic vinaigrette.  Use ASAP and/or store in the refrigerator almost indefinitely

For the grilled shrimp, asparagus & cherry tomatoes:

Be aware, while simple and straightforward, this recipe is very specific to the size of the shrimp (16/20 count), the thickness of the asparagus (medium), and, the type of tomatoes (whole grape). Why? Because everything cooks at the same time, in the same amount of time, in the same grill pan. Even the olive oil, which is extra-virgin and lemon-infused, makes a difference -- fresh lemon juice won't produce the same result.  This means: do not make substitutions then complain to me if the end result isn't cooked to perfection -- mess with the recipe, mess with perfection.

IMG_2296For each appetizer-size portion:

6  extra-jumbo shrimp (16-20 count), peeled and deveined with the pretty tails left on

6  medium-thickness asparagus spears, properly trimmed of stalk ends

6 whole grape tomatoes

1-2  tablespoons lemon-infused extra-virgin olive oil

freshly-ground sea salt and peppercorn blend

IMG_2302~ Step 1.  Place the shrimp, asparagus and tomatoes on a shallow plate and drizzle the lemon oil over all. Using a pastry brush, paint the surface of each piece to thinly-coat it with oil.  Season the top surface of all with a few grinds of sea salt and peppercorn blend.

Note:  If you're making multiple servings, it goes without saying, to place all of the ingredients on a larger platter to coat and season them all at the same time.

IMG_2244 IMG_2244~ Step 2.  Spray grill pan with no-stick cooking spray and heat over medium-high on stovetop. When hot, arrange shrimp, slightly-apart, in hot center, then, around the perimeter of pan, arrange the asparagus and tomatoes.  Cook for 5-6 minutes, using a pair of tongs to turn each ingredient over only once, about 2 1/2-3 minutes per side. Shrimp will be light golden, asparagus will have a slight char and tomatoes will be blistered.

Golden shrimp, charred asparagus & blistered tomato perfection:

IMG_2255Grilled Shrimp and Asparagus Cocktail w/Lemon Dip:  Recipe yields 1 appetizer-sized serving.

Special Equipment List: pastry brush; nonstick grill pan; tongs

IMG_2021 IMG_2107Cook's Note: For a variation on the theme of seafood with asparagus and cherry tomatoes, try my yummy and easy recipes for ~ Spaghetti w/Crab, Asparagus, Tomato & Prosciutto ~ and ~ Asparagus Salad w/Tomatoes, Mozzarella & Lemon-Balsamic Vinaigrette ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2019) 


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