"The Big-Flavor Grill: No-Marinade, No-Hassle Recipes for Delicious Steaks, Chicken, Ribs, Chops, Vegetables, Shrimp, and Fish." The grilling expert duo ("Grill It!," "The Thrill of the Grill," Let the Flames Begin," "Barbecue: Recipes, Techniques, Tools") of Chris Schlesinger (winner James Beard Award for Best Chef Northeast) and John Willoughby (executive editor of Cook's Illustrated) takes a new direction in their latest grilling tome. "We long ago adopted spice rubs in place of marinades," they write, explaining that rubs go on right before grilling and result in stronger flavors.
They pair rubs with "razzle-dazzles," simple ingredient combos tossed together with or drizzled over the hot grilled item. These change the complete character of the finished dish, with Thai basil, ginger and lemongrass adding an Asian attitude, for example, and as cilantro, chiles, cumin and lime juice do in the Grilled Shrimp Tacos recipe below. One caveat: while every recipe includes a razzle-dazzle, not many include rubs. But as Julia Child demonstrated when she dropped hot diced potatoes into a scallion-enhanced vinaigrette, the concept works. Ten Speed Press. $25.
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Grilled Shrimp Tacos With Avocado and Grilled Pineapple
Serves 8 as an appetizer, 4 as an entree
1 cup shredded cabbage
2 avocados, diced medium
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chiles of your choice
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/3 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 or 3 limes)
1 dozen 6-inch corn tortillas
3 (1-inch-thick) slices fresh pineapple, peeled and cored
2 pounds large shrimp (16/20 per pound) peeled and deveined, tails left on
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Build a two-level fire in your grill, which means you put all the coals on one side of the grill and leave the other side free of coals. When the flames have died down, all the coals are covered with gray ash, and the temperature is medium-hot (you can hold your hand 6 inches above the grill for 3 to 4 seconds), you're ready to cook.
While the fire is heating, combine the cabbage, avocados, quarter cup of olive oil, cilantro, chiles, and lime juice in a large bowl.
Grill the tortillas for just 30 seconds per side to heat, then put them aside. Grill the pineapple until golden, 4 to 5 minutes per side. When the pineapple comes off the grill, cut it into medium dice and put into the large bowl with the cabbage mixture.
Thread the shrimp onto skewers, about 6 per skewer. Drizzle the shrimp with the olive oil and sprinkle them generously with the salt and pepper, then place them on the grill directly over the coals and cook until slightly charred and golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. To check for doneness, cut into one of the shrimp at its thickest point and peek inside to be sure it is opaque throughout.
When the shrimp come off the grill, slide them off the skewers into the bowl with the cabbage mixture and toss like crazy. Season to taste and serve with the grilled tortillas. Serve hot.
Adapted from "The Big-Flavor Grill: No-Marinade, No-Hassle Recipes for Delicious Steaks, Chicken, Ribs, Chops, Vegetables, Shrimp, and Fish."