Dinner with Diane: Shrimp Kabobs with Jerk Seasoning

Diane Ferritto

Welcome back! As you’ve been getting back into the routine of classes and school work, I’ve had some extra time off. I was fortunate enough to take a two-week vacation to the Caribbean Island of Antigua! I’d never been to the Caribbean before and it was only my second time traveling abroad so I was not sure what to expect. But I was very excited to sample the local cuisine and bring some ideas home to share with my friends and family.

Since the island has quite a bit of English influence, the classic fish and chips combo is available at nearly every beach bar. Some establishments serve fungie—the national dish made mostly of cornmeal and okra—which is a variation of polenta. Unfortunately, burgers and French fries dominate the menu quite a bit unless you head somewhere a little more… refined. So I did. I love seafood, and piña coladas taste better in the tropics, so I made it my mission to sample them everywhere I went!

Here in Ohio though, it can be a bit of a challenge to enjoy fresh seafood, but it can be done. You can have lobsters shipped from Maine, or go the grocery store and buy some raw shrimp. Don’t do frozen. If you don’t like seafood, frozen will make you like it less. And if you love seafood like I do, it will leave you disappointed. With that being said, here is one of my favorite seafood recipes with some Caribbean Jerk Seasoning influence!

Need more recipe ideas? Do you have questions about cooking? Email me at [email protected] Your question could be featured in my next column!

Shrimp Kabobs with Jerk Seasoning
4 teaspoons jerk seasoning (any brand will work but if you can find one from the Caribbean, use it!)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon safflower oil (or olive/ vegetable oil)
3 cloves of garlic, run through a garlic press or minced finely
16 uncooked large shrimp, rinsed, peeled and deveined (10-15 per pound)
1 small package of cherry tomatoes (or grape tomatoes)
1 small red onion
1 bell pepper, any color

1. Mix first five ingredients in a bowl. Place shrimp in the bowl and let them marinate. Leave them covered in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. (Marinating them longer will allow the flavor to penetrate more but then you’ll lose a bit of the seafood flavor).
2. While the shrimp are marinating, wash the vegetables and then chop the onion and pepper into kabob-sized chunks. Feel free to experiment with different vegetables—zucchini, yellow squash and mushrooms are all excellent alternatives.
3. Preheat your grill (I know it’s January, but you’ll be glad you did) to medium-high heat.
4. Once the shrimp have finished marinating, thread them onto skewers (wood or metal), alternating vegetables and shrimp. Place the skewers on the grill for 2-3 minutes before turning for another 2-3 minutes. Shrimp don’t take long to cook and overcooking can make them chewy.
5. Serve while it’s hot with potato salad, a fresh corn and avocado salad or fungie if you want a more authentic Antiguan meal!
6. Crack open a Ting, Carib or shandy to make the meal complete! Enjoy!