I had all four burners going on Saturday night in Tahoe, preparing the Birthday feast in our rustic cabin. Just an hour before starting dinner we'd been sunning on the beach when a mountain storm blew in in what seemed like just minutes. The wind picked up, chasing us from the sand and big, fat raindrops began to fall just as we walked into the cabin. Luckily the rain was no match for the serious wood-fire Matt and Eric were able to build on the deck. We were determined to grill and stick to the menu. The ladies of the cabin were all quite impressed with their manly prowess over that fire. The rain lasted for less than an hour, and by the time the table was set and dinner was served, the sun was just breaking through the clouds again, coloring the sky a brilliant pink while the lake reflected it all.
Ilsa had requested coconut-curry shrimp, and I remembered seeing a version in Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything" some time ago. When I looked up the recipe it called for steaming the shrimp, but what better way to improve upon a recipe than by grilling over a wood-fire?
I have to say, this is one of the most delicious things I've had in a very long time, and as an added bonus, it's incredibly easy to do. I think this would be a perfect camping recipe. Bring the sauce along in the cooler and pour it over vegetable and meat skewers grilled over the fire.
Grilled Coconut-Curry Shrimp
adapted from Mark Bittman
2 lbs shrimp, peeled
1 cup coconut milk
3 stalks lemongrass
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp curry powder
salt to taste
Trim the stalks of the lemongrass and bruise to release the oils. Remove the outer stalks from the inner core. Mince the core and set aside (should provide about 1 tsp). Cut the stalks in half and place in a saucepan with the fish sauce, juice of 2 limes and the lime rinds. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk, curry, minced lemongrass core, and sugar. Continue to cook while stirring until the mixture is yellow. Remove from heat and let cool. Add salt to taste.
Meanwhile, cook shrimp. About 2 minutes or less on each side, until bright pink. We cooked them on skewers over a wood-fire oven. They can also be steamed right in the pan with the sauce (about 5-10 minutes until pink) or sauteed separately over the stove. I think grilling tastes the best, but it's a very flexible dish. We also served the sauce over tofu. It would work well over numerous vegetables and proteins. You could also consider adding a dried chili while you simmer the sauce and removing it before serving for heat.
Serve the shrimp with the sauce, delicious!