Spring in New England is like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.
But last week we lucked out with some extraordinary April weather…beautiful sunny 70° days…perfect grilling weather. I was very excited, because it gave me a chance to break out my new grill.
I got an adorable little portable grill from a pampered chef party over the winter. It’s electric or charcoal and perfect to use on my deck. I’ve been dying to break it in, and it was the perfect weather for grilling. Now, I just needed a recipe.
I decided that I wanted something super summery feeling, so I decided to go with a Margarita marinade that I use on chicken and shrimp. As I’ve said before, Taylor and I are pescatarians. Lenny and Ally are omnivores. So this was another opportunity for me to try my “two ways” concept…using the same basic ingredients to produce a veg (in this case pesc) and omni option.
I start the marinade with things that make a margarita a margarita…tequila and lime juice. Don’t worry if you don’t have tequila, it is optional. To this I added garlic, brown sugar, some Mexican inspired spices like paprika, cumin, and chili powder, some lime zest for zing and some cilantro for freshness.
I put all of this in my Magic Bullet, along with some olive oil and pulsed it until it was combined and there were no visible large pieces. You could also do this in a food process or blender, or with an immersion blender.
I saved 3 tbsp. of the marinade to brush on the meat when cooking. Then I split the rest between some boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders and some peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp. I gave them both a little toss to coat and set them in the fridge to marinate for 2-3 hours.
I grilled everything on the medium-high setting of the electric element on my grill, 3-4 minutes per side. When I flipped everything, I gave it all a brush with the reserved marinade.
I did not skewer my shrimp, as the jumbo shrimp I used were large enough to not fall through the grill grates. If you use skewers, make sure that you soak them in water for about an hour before threading the shrimp onto them.
My chicken was in thin slices, and my shrimp were rather large, so they all cooked in about the same time. Make sure your shrimp are pinkish, no longer translucent, and your chicken is cooked through. Be careful not to overcook either one. And bonus points for the nice char marks you get from your grill.
When they were done, I garnished with some fresh cilantro and gave everything a few squeezes of fresh lime juice. This is totally optional, but it gave everything just a bit more margarita-y flavor.
And that’s it. Voila! A plate full of juicy, fresh, zesty deliciousness. And Lenny makes a great Margarita (the drink kind), so of course we had to have one of those to go along with it. Yum!
If you give this recipe a try, please let me know how it came out. I’d love to hear from you. Follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook for more stories and recipes from my family table to yours.
Grilling Two Ways: Margarita Chicken and Shrimp
- 1 lb. jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 per pound), peeled and deveined
- 1 lb. boneless chicken breast strips
- Lime wedges
- Chopped cilantro (for garnish)
- 2/3 c. olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- ½ c. fresh cilantro
- 1 tsp. lime zest
- 2 tbsp. lime juice
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 tsp. paprika
- 2 tsp. chili powder
- 2 tsp. onion powder
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tbsp. tequila (optional)
- Place shrimp in a wide shallow bowl and place chicken in a second wide shallow bowl. Set aside.
- Combine all marinade ingredients in a blender or food processor (or use an immersion blender) and process until there are no sizeable pieces.
- Pour 3 tbsp. of the marinade mixture into a small bowl and set aside.
- Split the remaining marinade between the shrimp and chicken, and gently stir to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours, stirring once or twice.
- If using skewers to cook your shrimp, gently thread shrimp onto skewers.
- Heat grill to medium-high and oil the grates well. Set shrimp and chicken on grill grates and cook 3-4 minutes per side. Shrimp should no longer be opaque. Chicken should be cooked through but not dry. Note: Chicken may take longer, depending on how thick the strips are.
- Remove from grill and place on serving platter. Squeeze some fresh lime juice onto the cooked chicken and shrimp and garnish with chopped cilantro.