Whether it’s a New Year’s Eve party or a get together for the big game, these mini skewers make for a new and exciting appetizer that stands out from the usual party food suspects.
There are certain occasions that require something special, occasions that only come around once a year. Make those occasions memorable by preparing food that is just as special.
On the other hand, ‘special’ doesn’t have to equal ‘complicated,’ now does it? A little rub, a little sauce, and your guest will be dazzled. It’s up to you whether or not you want to tell them it only took half an hour.
- 12 cocktail-sized skewers
- 12 sea scallops, about 1/2 pound
- 12 large shrimp, shell snipped and deveined
- 1 lemon, halved
- 2 green onions, chopped for garnish
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
- 3 tablespoons cold butter, divided
- 1/2 shallot, minced
- 1/2 cup dry champagne
- 3/4 cup half and half
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- Preheat grill to high heat and preheat a pan over medium low heat on the side burner (or on the stove if your grill has no side burner).
- Mix together the dry rub ingredients. Place 1 shrimp and 1 scallop per skewer and then season moderately on all sides with the dry rub.
- Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to the skillet and as soon as it is melted, sauté the shallot in the butter until golden brown and the butter is almost dried up, just 1 to 2 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with the champagne and let it simmer for about 30 seconds.
- Slowly whisk in the half and half and add the red pepper flakes. Adjust the heat to maintain a slight simmer and cook until the cream thickens, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with a few heavy pinches of salt and white pepper.
- Remove from heat and whisk in the remaining tablespoon of cold butter. Place over very low heat to keep warm.
- Place a shrimp and scallop on each skewer. Season all over with the seasoning rub.
- Place the lemon, cut side down, on the grill grates. Place the skewers over direct heat and cook until the shrimp tails start to turn pink, about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.
- Flip, squeeze the lemon juice over the skewers, and grill until the whole shrimp turns pink, about 2 minutes.
- Remove and serve. Ladle a spoonful of the sauce onto a plate and top with two of the skewers. Garnish with green onion sliced on a bias.
- Most of the cocktail sized skewers that I see are wooden so you’ll first need to soak them in water to help keep the exposed parts from burning on the grill.
- Mince the shallot finely so it cooks quickly and evenly.
- Some side burners are almost too powerful because they are designed to be used outside in the elements and it can be a little tricky maintaining a low simmer like this. If you are already at the lowest burner setting and it is still trying to simmer into a boil, just lift the pan up 8-10 inches for a moment to let some of the heat dissipate.
- Make sure to season the seafood on all sides. You want the shells on the shrimp to protect the meat but I try to pull the shell back some to get the seasoning under it.
- Shrimp come with a built-in timer. When you see the tip of the tails start to turn pink, it is time to flip the skewer.
- After you flip them, once the entire shell turns pink, the shrimp are ready to come off.
- The cooked down champagne sauce turns slightly sweet and combines well with the mild citrus taste of the grilled shrimp and scallop. You want to serve them immediately as seafood doesn’t hold long. But with a short 4 – 4 1/2 minute cook time for the seafood, it’s easy to cook the sauce ahead of time and just do a few batches of the skewers.