Salt-Crusted Shrimp with Potent Lemon-Garlic Dipping Sauce

This is my favorite shrimp preparation and one that I grill almost every time I entertain. The salt on the shells stays on your fingers as you peel the shrimp, seasoning the shrimp as you dip into the potent lemon-garlic sauce.  My favorite way to serve it is outdoors next to the grill where the whole party feels like they are “in” on the backyard action.  Once the shrimp are cooked, pile them on newspaper or a platter and start peeling and dipping.   If you are not already great friends—you will be once you share this finger-lickin’ good  eatin’ experience.

Grilling Method: Direct/Medium Heat

Serves 4

 Dipping Sauce:
½         cup best-quality extra-virgin olive oil
2          lemons, juiced
            Zest from ½ lemon
2          cloves garlic, grated
4          stems fresh oregano, leaves only
            Freshly ground pepper to taste

16        Jumbo or Colossal shrimp in the shell (or frozen black tiger shrimp)
3          tablespoons olive oil
¼         cup Morton kosher salt or other coarse sea salt

 Make the Dipping Sauce: Whisk together the oil and lemon. Stir in the garlic. Take the leaves off the oregano stems and add to oil mixture. Let sit for at least 20 to 30 minutes to marry the flavors—or make up to 12 hours in advance. Set aside.

Place the shrimp in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil to coat lightly all over. Just before putting on the grill, sprinkle the salt evenly over the shrimp and toss well to make sure each shrimp is thoroughly coated in a crust of salt.  Do not use fine-grain  kosher salt  such as Diamond Crystal brand as it melts too quickly.

Preheat grill? Place the shrimp in the center of the cooking grate, 3 to 4 minutes per side or until the shrimp is pink and the flesh is opaque (white). Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

 Serving Tip: This is my favorite party “ice breaker” appetizer. I place the oil-tossed shrimp in a bowl on a tray with a small bowl of the kosher salt, my tongs, lots of napkins, a platter and the prepared dipping sauce. Once everyone is armed with a cocktail, we hit the deck to start the party. While we are talking, I toss the shrimp in the salt, grill them and place them on the platter. Then the fun begins, everyone takes a shrimp, peels and dips it in the sauce for a fun, casual and interactive appetizer! By the time the shrimp, and our cocktails are gone we are either fast friends or better friends! Alternatively, you can arrange 4 shrimp on each serving plate and accompany with a small ramekin of the dipping sauce but I think serving them hot-off-the-grill is sooo much more fun!