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Grilled Shrimp with Tartar Sauce


Father’s Day is next on the holiday schedule. Not an official celebration, more a recognition of our dads, grandfathers and their forefathers, a day to show our appreciation. The holiday though similar to Mother’s Day, Dad is more apt to cook something on the grill and indulge in a few beers. My family has always celebrated this way, most of my friends as well.

I am not a dad though I am an unofficial “uncle” to some of my friend’s children. I had a dad, my hero for his patience even though undeserved, who taught me innumerable skills and life lessons that I still rely on to this day.

I present a recipe that is simple and easy to prepare. Something familiar and yet different. On the backyard grill, a delicious appetizer with just a little prep . The shrimp can be cooked in the oven or under the broiler but the char from the grill makes a significant contribution.

For this recipe, I use Old Bay Seasoning to flavor the shrimp though you could use Cajun, Creole or lemon pepper seasoning. The tartar sauce has more ingredients than you might expect but is a more interesting accompaniment to the shrimp than mayo and relish. I suggest using shell on shrimp; peel the shrimp before grilling just be careful not to overcook. I also do not recommend any shrimp smaller than 16/20 as they are harder to maneuver on the grill.

Serves 4 to 5 as Appetizer

Ingredients for the Shrimp:

  • 1 pound 16/20 shrimp with shell on (the shell helps to keep the shrimp moist)

  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil

Ingredients for Tartar Sauce:

  • 2 cups prepared mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper

  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill pickle

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Method for the Shrimp:

  • If the shrimp are not already split down the back and the vein removed, using a sharp knife, split the shell down the back and remove the vein

  • Toss the shrimp in a bowl with the Old Bay Seasoning and oil

  • Cook the shrimp over medium heat on the grill, gas or charcoal, for about 2 minutes. Flip the shrimp over and continue to cook for about 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat

  • Peel and eat the shrimp while warm or chill first and then enjoy

Method for the Tartar Sauce:

  • Whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce and refrigerate until time to serve the shrimp

The sauce really makes this appetizer special. And, of course, grilling adds another flavor dimension. Either way you decide to prepare the shrimp, it will be a terrific way to celebrate Father’s Day.

Enjoy your dad and make memories!!