I like to joke that I am a terrible Californian. Despite growing up a mile away from the Pacific ocean, in a neighborhood home to both commercial and sport fisherman, I don’t really like seafood. I know, I know. It’s a damn shame. All that wonderful seafood was wasted on me.
Ironically, now that I have moved away from the ocean, I have started incorporating some seafood into my diet. Slowly but surely, I have started eating salmon, tuna, and shrimp. This is such a relief to my husband, who loves shrimp but rarely gets to eat it around me. But lately I have been cooking more with shrimp, trying to find a recipe we both will love.
Last week, Legion of Spice sent me a couple spice packets of their to try, including their “I’m a Jerk” spice mix, which is their version of Jamaican jerk seasoning. As soon as I saw it I immediately thought, not of chicken, but of shrimp!
Jamaican jerk is a very complex spice mix, filled with no less than a dozen different spices. I have never attempted to make my own, instead opting to by an already blended spice mix (sometimes you have to leave it to the professionals). Jerk seasoning also tends to be pretty spicy. And when I read that their I’m a Jerk mix contained scotch bonnet…well, I got nervous.
Putting my nerves aside, I marinated the shrimp in a mixture of the seasoning mix, lime juice, and olive oil, then let the shrimp get all happy for a few hours. I used this time to make some pineapple mango salsa to go along with the shrimp. I was hoping that the sweetness of the pineapple and mango would help cut the spiciness. Or at the very least, be a delicious topping…which it was!
Once the shrimp had soaked up all of that flavor, I just quickly grilled them and served them over some coconut rice. I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor of the shrimp. It was very complex and flavorful, of course spicy, but not as spicy as I had anticipated. It was just the right about of heat that developed even after my first bite. The salsa worked perfectly with all those spices, and the coconut rice was perfect to cut through the heat when we couldn’t take any more.
The best part was, I found a shrimp recipe I actually love and would definitely make again!