There are tons of benefits of living in North America but as an island boy who loves my belly, I starve for fresh ingredients (fresh from the plant and earth) and I hate the fact that I’m limited by seasons. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve gone outside in -25 C winter blizzards to grill, but there are times when even the sight of snow or the fact that I have to layer up to go outside, gets me uninterested. Not even juicy jerk shrimp could see me deal with frigid temps. Don’t worry, Mc Donalds in never an option… Crix and sardines!
Pineapple and shrimp are abundant in the Caribbean and I remember that my dad always had a pineapple plant in our back yard when we were growing up, so this recipe is kinda natural for me. The marinating in rich jerk spices is just another welcomed addition. Let’s be clear for all my Jamaican friends who will point out that this is not jerk shrimp… yes I too agree, but it’s a delicious way to enjoy “jerk shrimp” in the cold winter months. (BTW you can marinate the shrimp as I did, place them on skewers (with the pineapple) and grill, if you want the smokiness of an open flame.)
1 lb shrimp (cleaned / deveined)
1/2 cup zesty Italian Dressing
2 heaping tablespoon jerk spice rub (your fav)
1 cup cubed pineapple
1/2 scotch bonnet pepper (any hot pepper you like)
juice 1 lime
juice 2 small oranges
2 tablespoon olive oil
* 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
* chopped scallion for topping
Note: I know when you think ‘jerk’ you think about the smoky flavors of the grill and zesty Italian dressing is not something which comes to mind. This is not a traditional ‘jerk’ dish, but I assure you that the flavors of the jerk spice, combined with the lovely citrus undertones of the fresh lime and oranges will give the shrimp and chunks of pineapple a lovely twist. At the end of this recipe I’ll share the video I did in preparing this exciting Caribbean inspired dish and I’ll also let you know how you can win a wonderful spice package courtesy of the Knox’s Spice Company.
Additional videos (click on the title to see):
The size of shrimp you use is up to you as I used what I could afford (on sale at the time). If you’re in North America, you can always check out Asian grocery stores for really good prices and selection on seafood. Clean, devein and wash the shrimp. The goal is to marinate this for a bit, but since there’s vinegar in the Italian salad dressing you really don’t want to marinate for too long or risk the shrimp getting cooked with the vinegar.
Place the shrimp in a deep bowl and add all the ingredients except the olive oil, pineapple and optional chopped scallion. I added a bit of brown sugar to the mix as well, as I love the added flavor.
Give it a good stir and allow to marinate for about 20 minutes. Then heat a saucepan on a med/high heat and drizzle in the olive oil… remember to never get olive too hot (smoking) as it’s not good with high heat. Using a pair tongs or slotted spoon, fish out the shrimp from the bowl and add to the pot. Stir well and try to use a fairly wide pan as not to crowd the shrimp while they cook. You’ll notice they will start to do a couple things.. they will curl and will start to change to a brilliant reddish (almost orange) color. This is what happens when shrimp cooks. Cook for about 3 minutes (toss around to cook on all sides). This is one of the few times I will ask you to dump out the marinade and not use it in the actual cooking process.
Now it’s time to add the cubed pieces of pineapple to the pot. Stir well so as to pick on the jerk flavors and to warm through. Keep stirring and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Try not to overcook or the shrimp will go tough. If after adding the pineapple pieces you find that there’s a lot of liquid at the bottom of the pan, turn up the heat so it burns off in the 2-3 minutes it takes to cook after we’ve added the pineapple. For an added touch (if you really like your spice), when the dish is done and you top with the chopped scallions, add a teaspoon of the jerk spice rub and toss. This will give it a really heightened twist at the end.
You can certainly add additional flavors to this with some bell peppers and slices of orange if you wish, but I’ll leave that for another recipe and for you to be creative as you see fit. Watch the video below for how to make this wicked jerk shrimp with pineapple and for how you can win the spice package courtesy of The Knox’s Spice Company.