My inbox this morning contained over half a dozen emails from restaurants and foodie sites informing me it’s National Margarita Day.
As if I didn’t already know. As I’ve said before, I love all holidays, so obviously I observe National Margarita Day. How fitting that it has fallen on a Monday this year, because who doesn’t love Margarita Mondays?! It’s been too long since I’ve had one of those.
Margaritas are probably my favorite cocktail. Real ones though… none of that neon mix stuff. Unlike other drinks, it’s pretty difficult to make a bad marg, and I’ll take mine on the rocks with salt.
For the longest time I was scared to try a margarita, because I was fairly certain tequila would kill me. I credit my mother with this fear, for when I was as young as middle school she’d tell me a story of a really bad night she had as a young adult that involved tequila and white pants. I’m not trying to “spare you the details” here, I actually don’t remember the details beyond what I just wrote. It must have been a hell of a tale though because it took me until two years ago to actually try a margarita.
It was a pomegranate margarita at Besito in West Hartford, CT. Still to this day probably one of the best margs I’ve had. Yes, a margarita and a basket of fresh chips and salsa eaten outside on a summer evening is definitely something I look forward to all winter.
I had ideas for sharing a drink recipe with you today, but I’ve got a couple of long days ahead and thought my body might benefit more from some protein than a cocktail alone. This Margarita Grilled Shrimp has been on my mind for quite a while. I’d tried making variations in the past with bummer results. Like last spring when I accidentally learned how to make terrible ceviche. Yeah, don’t ever let shrimp sit in an acidic marinade for two hours. Yikes.
No marinating here. You’ll first make a glaze on the stovetop that uses all our favorite margarita flavors. Orange, lime, agave, and obviously tequila. An entire half cup of it! The juices get reduced waaayyy down, which takes some time, but results in super concentrated flavor that’s worth the wait.
From there it’s easy. Just season some shrimp and toss it in olive oil, then thread it onto skewers and grill! The glaze gets brushed on right at the end, giving the shrimp a nice sweet char. I understand it’s February and may not be 70 degrees outside where you are (yes, it’s awesome), so you can absolutely use a grill pan or even a George Foreman to make this recipe.
My favorite way to eat these shrimp is over rice and a medley of veggies, because that’s my favorite way to eat just about anything. However if you want to double the recipe and eat just these Margarita Grilled Shrimp with some chip and guac for dinner, that sounds like a fine way to celebrate National Margarita Day to me!
Margarita Grilled Shrimp
Yields 2-4 servings
Juicy grilled shrimp coated in a tequila spiked citrus glaze.
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/2 cup tequila
- 3 Tbs. agave nectar
- Dash of salt
- 1 Tbs. corn starch
- 1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Salt & pepper
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. coriander
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- Cilantro, for garnish
To make the glaze, combine all the ingredients except the cornstarch in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to medium low so that the mixture simmers. Simmer for five minutes until slightly reduced. Place the cornstarch in a small bowl. Remove some of the liquid and whisk into the cornstarch to make a slurry. Pour this back into the saucepan and whisk constantly until the glaze is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and set aside.
Remove from heat and set aside while you prepare the shrimp.
Preheat your grill or set a grill pan over medium heat.
Rinse the shrimp and pat it dry on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk together the olive oil, spices, and garlic in a large bowl, then add the shrimp. Toss until each shrimp is coated. Thread the shrimp onto 6-8 skewers.
Grill the shrimp for two minutes on one side, then slip. While the second side cooks for a minutes, brush the skewers with half the glaze. Flip again so the glazed side is down. Brush the tops with the remainder of the glaze, and flip one last time. Cook for 30 seconds to a minute, until the shrimp are opaque.
Transfer the skewers to a plate and garnish with fresh cilantro and lime wedges. Serve over rice with grilled veggies, if desired.