If you enjoy the spicier things in life, Caribbean food is likely familiar territory. Jerk seasonings are packed with flavor and intensity, and making your own provides a far superior taste over the store-bought versions.
It can be used on vegetables as well as meats, and provide an extra kick to vegetarian meat substitutes like seitan and tofu.
This recipe also calls for making a fresh salsa from scratch, with lime, mint, sweet onion, bell pepper, and mango, as well as a tangy sour cream dip. The dips help to tame the bold spice of the jerk seasoning with cooling mint mixed into the salsa and casein in the sour cream dip. With plenty of veggies and fruits to pair with the shrimp’s protein, this is an exciting, potent dish.
Make sure to buy organic, domestic shrimp, as imported shrimp has been known to contain antibiotics, contaminants, and other less-than-desirable qualities in a food. If you are vegetarian, you can easily substitute the shrimp with your protein of choice for a spicy, fun Jamaican appetizer or entree.
The recipe for jerk seasoning will leave extra for another round or two, and the main dish recipe will make about six servings. The total prep time is about an hour and 15 minutes.
What You Need
- 6 scallions
- 1 to 3 scotch bonnet peppers (depending on your preference of spiciness)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or 1 1/2 teaspoon dried)
- 2 teaspoons all spice berries (or 1 teaspoon dried and ground)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
Jerk Shrimp Kabobs
- 1 1/2 pounds jumbo shrimp
- 3 tablespoons jerk seasoning
- 4 table spoons extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh produce of choice (cherry tomato, pepper, pineapple, onion)
Mango Mint Salsa
- 1 mango (ripe yet firm)
- 1/2 red or green bell pepper
- 1/2 cucumber
- 1/3 large sweet onion
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 3 sprigs of mint (approx. 20 leaves)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Sour Cream Dip
- 4 tablespoons organic low-fat sour cream
- 1 tablespoon ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime or lemon juice (or 1/2 of both!)
How to Prepare
- Make jerk seasoning by grinding all ingredients in a blender or with a mortar and pestle. Store in a glass container.
- Combine the shrimp, jerk seasoning, and olive oil, mixing well. Allow it to marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Make the salsa and dip while waiting for the shrimp to marinate.
- Salsa: Peel and dice onion, mango, and cucumber, and place in a bowl. Dice the pepper, and add to the mix. Chop mint leaves and place in the bowl. Add lime juice, salt, and pepper. Mix well and refrigerate.
- Dip: Pour all ingredients into one bowl and whisk vigorously. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Once the shrimp is marinated, prepare to grill. Pimento wood is the traditional method, but gas grills or barbeques will suffice. First, light the grill, then add produce and shrimp to skewers. Make sure to soak wooden skewers prior to use.
- When the skewers are prepared, grill over a medium flame or use indirect heat on a charcoal grill, if needed. As shrimp cooks very rapidly, give them a few minutes on each side, and remove from grill. The shrimp will be pink when cooked thoroughly.
- Serve with mango salsa and sour cream dip. As a side, consider Jamaican rice and peas.
1. Image: Hector Rodriguez. About.com Latin Food.
2. Hector Rodriguez. Jamaican Jerk Shrimp with Mango Salsa and Sour Cream Dip.
2. Hector Rodriguez. Jamaican Jerk Seasoning.