There are endless ways to use pesto — the Italian sauce made from olive oil, basil, garlic, nuts and Parmesan cheese — but this grilled shrimp with pesto has to be one of my favourites. Whether you serve the dish for dinner with pasta and a vegetable or as an appetiser all alone, the shrimp disappear in a flash. Trust me, no matter how much you think you’ll need, make extra!
- 1 kg extra large or jumbo shrimp, peeled (tails left on) and deveined, thawed if frozen
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 125 gms basil leaves
- 3 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp salt
- 30 gms grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 30 gms cup walnuts
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving (optional)
- Thread the shrimp onto skewers, if desired. (I usually don't bother, unless the shrimp are on the smaller side, in which case they might slip through the grill grates.)
- In a food processor or blender, combine the olive oil, basil, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, Parmigiano-Reggiano and walnuts. Process until the mixture is well blended. Reserve two tablespoons of the pesto in a bowl large enough to hold all of the shrimp and set aside. Pour the remaining pesto over the shrimp and let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to marinate.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Lightly dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil and, using tongs, carefully rub over the grates several times until glossy and coated. Place the shrimp on the grill and cook until plump and slightly charred, a few minutes per side. Transfer the cooked shrimp to the bowl with the reserved pesto and toss to coat evenly. Serve immediately.