I feel like I have two sides to my personality: a logical/analytical side, and a creative/artistic side. As a result I have always been drawn to activities that utilize both of these qualities. I love to play (and listen to) classical music. The flow and rhythm of this type of music is almost mathematical, but the interpretation of it by the musician is completely creative. I love science. I gravitated toward that subject in school because it analyzes and tries to explain the world, but at the same time it requires a creative mind to come up with new theories and experiments. And, last but not least, I love to cook.
Cooking and science have a lot in common. In both fields there are times to be precise, to follow instructions, and adhere to the rules. This is true when you have a great recipe or formula–you follow it to a tee and the end result is magnificent, just as expected. But, sometimes you don’t have a recipe or formula, you just have an idea. This is when it’s time to get creative. You use the skills you’ve developed by following other people’s instructions, and then throw the rule book out the window and do your own thing. Of course there are some spectacular disasters, but that’s how you learn. And even more spectacular is when you come across something that actually works.
This recipe is a combination of tried-and-true recipe with a bit of my own interpretation. The Thai-inspired marinade was listed in the special summer issue of Everyday Food magazine. In the article they mentioned that it would be good on shrimp and scallops, but they didn’t really explain how to do it. I decided that using skewers would make it easier to cook the seafood, plus this is a great way to grill vegetables. At first I thought I would use vegetables from my favorite Thai dishes, but then I realized that skewering a green bean was out of the question. So I opted for zucchini instead, since they are abundant during the summer and grill up nicely. The resulting dish was a great weeknight summer dinner–fast, flavorful, and light but satisfying.
Thai Seafood Kebabs (marinade adapted from Everyday Food magazine)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 1 lime, juiced (plus extra wedges for serving)
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon sriracha sauce
- salt & pepper
- 3/4 pound raw shrimp (peels removed, tails left on)
- 3/4 pound raw sea scallops
- 2 small zucchinis
- 1 red bell pepper
- cooked jasmine or basmati rice (for serving)
- metal or bamboo skewers (if using bamboo, make sure they are presoaked in water so that they don’t catch on fire)
- vegetable oil (to grease the grill grates)
- Cut zucchini into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Cut bell pepper into 1 1/2-inch squares. Alternately thread the zucchini and bell pepper onto skewers. Sprinkle lightly with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and set aside.
- Whisk together the coconut milk, shallot, lime juice, cilantro, and sriracha sauce in a large bowl. Taste and add salt & pepper if necessary.
- Use a basting brush to lightly coat the vegetable kebabs with the marinade. Put the scallops and shrimp in the bowl with the remaining marinade and set aside.
- Preheat a grill to high. Clean the grill grates with a wire brush. Use a paper towel (folded into a small square) dipped in vegetable oil to grease the grill grates.
- Thread the shrimp and scallops onto the skewers (see Notes below for tips on this).
- Sear the vegetable kebabs on each side. Move them to a cooler part of the grill and continue to cook until they are softened (about ____ minutes). Sear the seafood kebabs and continue to grill until they are cooked through (about ____ minutes for large scallops/shrimp, _____ minutes for small scallops/shrimp).
- Serve the kebabs with cooked jasmine/basmati rice and lime wedges.
Time: 30 minutes
Notes: If your shrimp and scallops are the same size, go ahead and alternate them on the same skewer. If they are different sizes, keep them on separate skewers because they will take different amounts of time to cook. We didn’t take that into consideration when we made this, and since our shrimp were smaller than our scallops, some of the shrimp were a little overcooked by the time the scallops were done.