Grilled Shrimp with Pistachio Pesto

May 17, 2015

Author Notes: Everybody loves fresh grilled shrimp right off the barbie! My homemade pistachio pesto takes this delicacy to the next level with an explosion of textures and flavor.Lynda Marren

Food52 Review: This is quite possibly the most perfect summer dish—quick, easy, light, and possible to cook outdoors on a grill. Brining the shrimp kept them well-seasoned, and the pistachio pesto is unique and flavorful. I especially loved the smoky chipotle. My only wish was that there was more pesto. After the shrimp were cooked, it got a little lost. Next time, I will make a double batch for the same amount of shrimp and save half for post-grill dipping.Megan

Serves: 6 people


For the shrimp and dry brine:

  • 2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail on, butterflied
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

For the pistachio pesto:

  • 3/4 cup pistachios
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1/2 chipotle pepper with adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
In This Recipe


  1. To make shrimp and brine: Place shrimp in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, sugar, and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle over shrimp and toss with hands to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and leave shrimp on counter for 1 hour to bring to room temperature.
  2. To make the pistachio pesto: Toast pistachios in dry pan on medium heat until golden brown. Set pistachios on a cutting board to cool. (If you place pistachios in a bowl while they are hot, they will steam and not stay crunchy.)
  3. In a medium bowl, place lemon juice, chipotle chile, Italian parsley, basil, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Add olive oil and whisk well.
  4. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until mixture comes together. Add pistachios and blend for 30 seconds to make a thick pesto. Transfer to a bowl.
  5. Rinse brine off shrimp and pat dry completely. Place shrimp in bowl with pesto and toss well.
  6. Grease grill lightly with olive oil, then turn heat to medium-high. Set shrimp on grill and leave for 1 minute to obtain grill marks. As the shrimp grill, toss them and brush on additional pistachio pesto. For tender shrimp, grill only 3 to 4 minutes.
  7. Note: Serve shrimp as a hors d'oeuvres or with a tossed salad and creamy polenta as a main course.

More Great Recipes:
Parsley|Pistachio|Seafood|Shrimp|Pesto|Grill/Barbecue|Hors D'Oeuvre|Entree

Reviews (1) Questions (0)

1 Review

JBF O. May 20, 2016
This was quite good but hardly quick and simple. The directions were not perfect: when was the dijon mustard added? The dry brine called for 1/2 cup kosher salt divided. I had no idea why. I found another brine to use. I did serve polenta with it.