- The Washington Times - Monday, April 11, 2005

After years of teaching, I’ve learned that certain foods have universal appeal. Shrimp definitely falls into this category. Boiled, broiled, sauteed or grilled, it’s a crowd pleaser wherever I give classes.

At home, if I serve a platter mounded with shrimp at a cocktail party, there’s no problem with leftovers. If I make shrimp the main course of a dinner menu, no one leaves a plate with even one of the coral-hued shellfish on it.

Imagine my delight when I came up with a new recipe that features skewers of grilled shrimp atop pistachio-saffron rice.

I made the rice and served it as a garnish for lamb chops and baked fish several times before realizing that shrimp would make an even more interesting partner.

I chose extra-large shrimp, which I peeled and deveined, then marinated in lime juice and olive oil.

A sprinkle of salt and hot red pepper flakes were the only seasonings. Skewered, then broiled until curled and pink, these shellfish brochettes look striking atop the bright yellow saffron rice that has been dusted with chopped pistachios and fresh mint.

A spinach and red onion salad and a crusty baguette make simple accompaniments. This recipe is so good that not one shrimp will go uneaten.

Skewered shrimp with pistachio saffron rice

1½ pounds extra-large (16 to 20 count) shrimp in shells, peeled and deveined but with tails left on

1/3 cup olive oil

2½ teaspoons lime zest (about 2 limes)

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

Saffron pistachio rice (recipe follows)

4 lime slices for garnish

Soak 4 long wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes and pat dry, or use metal skewers.

Put shrimp in a large, shallow nonreactive bowl or dish. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime zest and juice, garlic, salt, and hot red pepper flakes. Pour over shrimp, and toss to mix. Marinate at cool room temperature 35 to 45 minutes.

While shrimp is marinating, arrange a rack 4 to 5 inches from broiler and preheat broiler. Line a boiler pan with aluminum foil.

Remove shrimp from marinade, divide evenly and skewer. Arrange skewers on broiler pan and broil shrimp until curled and pink, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Serve shrimp with saffron pistachio rice and garnish each serving with a lime slice. Squeeze lime juice from lime slice over shrimp.

Makes 4 servings.


1½ tablespoons olive oil

1½ cups long-grain, preferably basmati, rice

3 cups chicken broth


1/4 teaspoon crushed saffron threads (2 generous pinches)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/3 cup chopped, unsalted roasted pistachios

2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves

Heat oil in medium-size heavy saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add rice and stir until grains are coated with oil, a minute or less. Add broth, 1/4 teaspoon salt and saffron. Bring mixture to a simmer and reduce heat to low.

Cover and cook until all liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in butter, and season with more salt if needed.

Rice can be used immediately or kept covered off heat for up to 45 minutes.

Mound rice on a platter or in a bowl and sprinkle with pistachios and mint. Makes 4 to 5 servings.


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