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
Test Kitchen Notes
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
For the shrimp and dry brine:
shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail on, butterflied
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.
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.)
In a medium bowl, place lemon juice, chipotle chile, Italian parsley, basil, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Add olive oil and whisk well.
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.
Rinse brine off shrimp and pat dry completely. Place shrimp in bowl with pesto and toss well.
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.
Note: Serve shrimp as a hors d'oeuvres or with a tossed salad and creamy polenta as a main course.