Shrimp Skewers with Tangy Avocado Sauce
Of all the cooking I did this past summer, from vibrant tomato salads to picnic suppers, these Shrimp Skewers with Tangy Avocado Sauce were a standout. The dish came together without much forethought, as the best ones often do. It was in my sister’s kitchen one evening in June when she suggested I make a sauce to go with grilled shrimp, pointing to the cilantro and scallions on the counter as a starting point. I blended them with a ripe avocado and the result was so tasty, I repeated the recipe for a dinner party later that month, again for a cooking class I taught in July, and a few times since then. It makes a terrific summer supper, but is just as suitable for a weeknight meal any time of year.
Convenient and Quick Cooking Shrimp
One of the upsides to this recipe is that it starts with one of the most convenient foods under the sea, shrimp. I nearly always have a bag stashed in my freezer for quick and easy meals. This recipe calls for medium to large peeled and deveined shrimp. There is much to know about what to look for when it comes to buying quality, sustainable shrimp, so I’ll be posting a quick guide next week. Stay tuned for that.
How to Serve Shrimp Skewers
To date, I’ve always served these skewers as a main dish. They’re flavorful and colorful and nearly everything can be done ahead of time. Below you’ll find a few side dish suggestions:
- Steamed white or brown basmati rice. I like to dress up the rice with finely chopped fresh parsley, salt, pepper, and a knob of butter.
- Any grain pilaf. You can do this with rice or another grain, such as farro or sorghum.
- Roasted or boiled potatoes, which are tasty with the sauce.
- Garlic bread.
- A big leafy salad with a simple vinaigrette.
- Grilled or roasted vegetables, which are also delicious with any extra sauce.
The skewers could also be enjoyed as an appetizer, maybe with just one or two shrimp threaded onto a skewer (I like the short wooden skewers for appetizers if you can find them). Another tip? Swap seared scallops for shrimp. They’re excellent with the avocado sauce.
Other Ways to Use the Tangy Avocado Sauce
The recipe should yield just the right amount of sauce for the shrimp. It’s so tasty, though, you may want to make a double batch. You can use leftover sauce in numerous ways, including:
- As a spread for sandwiches and wraps
- Spooned over avocado toast
- Served with grilled or baked chicken breast
- As a dip for any number of crunchy raw vegetables
- Dabbed onto grilled or roasted vegetables
- Tossed with cooked grains, white beans, or chickpeas
If you like Shrimp Skewers with Tangy Avocado Sauce, check out:
Asian Rice Noodle Salad with Shrimp from Hip Foodie Mom
Shrimp Skewers with Tangy Avocado Herb Sauce
This dish is all about the flavorful sauce that can be whirled in a blender in a matter of minutes. A combination of fresh cilantro, avocado, scallions, and lime juice, it's a terrific way to brighten up a plate of skewered shrimp. If you don't care for cilantro, make the sauce with fresh basil instead.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 medium cloves minced garlic
- 1 1/4 pound medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Avocado Herb Sauce
- 2 roughly chopped cups cilantro, mostly leaves, but some stems are ok, about 1 bushy bunch OR 2 roughly chopped cups basil leaves
- 1 scallion, white and light green parts
- ½ medium ripe avocado
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
For the Shrimp
In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, salt, several grinds of fresh black pepper, cumin, and garlic. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Leave the shrimp to marinate while you make the sauce.
For the Sauce
Make the sauce by putting the cilantro (or basil), scallion, avocado, water, lime juice, vinegar, salt, and chile flakes in a blender and run until smooth, scraping down the sides and running again as needed.
To Assemble and Cook
Thread 3 to 5 shrimp on a wooden skewer. Repeat with remaining shrimp. Heat the grill on high (alternatively turn on the broiler in your oven). Cook the shrimp on the grill or on a sheet pan under the broiler until pink and opaque, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Serve immediately with the sauce on the side.