Grilled Shrimp/andouille/ciabatta/truffle aioli

You have to try this one.  Easy, fast, HUGE flavors, grilling… what else do you need?  I’m pulling out all the stops.  Hold nothing back.  This is almost too much of a good thing.

Almost.

Let’s recap what we know about grilling.  Temperature control is important.  Flavors tend to be on the ‘big’ side, so balance is sooo important.  Sweet needs sour.  Sweet needs heat.  Heat needs sweet and fat.  Sweet and fat both need sour.  We have so many options.  What works the best?  What in the world does all this mean?  Is this cooking or a riddle no one wants to solve?

Of course there are other things involved. Grilling involves being with family, enjoying the outdoors, beer, wine, a good cigar, loving good food, ice cold oysters as an appetizer, NOT being at work… the better things in life.  These are also important. I choose this recipe not necessarily because it’s easy, not necessarily because the flavors are great; but also because it encompasses everything great about grilling.  Sit back, relax, let the food do the talking, and don’t worry about ruining it.  A few very simply steps and you’re guaranteed to have a restaurant caliber meal.  A GOOD restaurant caliber meal!

Spicy grilled shrimp with andouille, wilted arugula, truffle aioli, and grilled ciabatta bread

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 15 min
Makes 4

Ingredients:

Dry rub:

 2 dry habanero peppers
1 tsp whole cumin
1 tsp whole coriander
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder

Aioli:

1/2 cup prepared mayonnaise
2 tbsp white truffle oil
1 head roasted garlic, squeezed and chopped fine
1 tsp coarse ground black pepper

Everything else:

wooden skewers, soaked in water
2 lb peeled and deveined 16/20 shrimp
5 links smoked andouille sausage, cut into 1/2 in pieces
4 cups rocket or baby arugula
3 limes, cut into wedges
1 fresh loaf ciabatta, cut into slices 1 in thick
good quality extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, drained and marinated in sherry vinegar
kosher salt
cracked black pepper

Method:

For the rub:

Toast the whole dry spices in a dry heavy bottom skillet.  When highly fragrant, transfer to a spice grinder and grind until fine powder.  Add the other dry spices and pulse until well incorporated.  Reserve.

For the aioli:

Mix everything together in a mixing bowl.  If necessary, add more truffle oil.  Flavor should ‘pop’ with truffle essence, but retain the garlic/smoothness of the aioli.  Reserve.

For everything else:

Bring grill to medium heat.

In a saute pan lightly saute the arugula with the peppers.  Season with salt and pepper, and let drain.  Place the saute pan on the grill (coolest part) and keep warm.

Mix the shrimp in the dry spices.  Prepare the skewers, alternating between shrimp and andouille.  Lightly coat with olive oil and cracked black pepper.

Begin grilling the shrimp/sausage skewers on one side of the grill.  On the other side begin grilling the ciabatta with olive oil.  Shrimp should be pink and slightly charred.  Bread should be golden brown, and slightly crunchy.

To serve.  Put a small dollop of aioli on the edge of the bread.  Place bread on plate, heat a little bit of wilted arugula on top, lay skewers on top of arugula, and serve the rest of the aioli as dipping sauce.  Squeeze a little fresh lime juice over the top and serve right away.

You will enjoy. I guarantee it.

Enjoy.

 

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