Many of those who read this blog already know I grew up in New York City. For those that don’t, I was raised in Midtown Manhattan just north of the United Nations. While not known for the best restaurants, my neighborhood had some bright spots. I didn’t get to experience the place that inspired this recipe until I was in college — though I probably shouldn’t have been enjoying their tasty orange margaritas at that time. But hey, they didn’t card, so whatever.
When I was on vacation breaks from school, my good friends and I used to frequent a place called The Tapas Lounge when we’d hang out together. Sadly , but when it was open, it was a pretty unique spot. Part Spanish tapas bar, part Persian hookah lounge, they had a really romantic dimly lit ambiance with plush Persian couches, dark wood, and pretty overpriced but delicious tapas plates. We’d usually get a bunch of dishes, drinks, and smoke some hookah… And end up staying out pretty late and hitting up someone’s roof for late night shenanigans.
Thing is, prior to going there, I never had Tapas before — but once I tried their or Garlic Prawns — one of the more common Spanish Tapas plates, I was sold. I have eaten this dish many times over since then, but the memory of when I had it there is embedded in my foodie brain. It was served in a sizzling cast iron skillet, cooked a la plancha and was full of flavor.
My Gambas a la Teriyaki is an homage to the now defunct Tapas Lounge, and is full of flavor too… But with an Asian twist. Plus it’s super easy, as long as you have a good grill (charcoal preferred). I also made a side of charred bok choy with a sriracha-spiced butter (courtesy of allrecipes.com).
If you prefer the traditional dish, you can check out recipe by clicking that link above… Although that really should be cooked a la plancha… Man, I really do like saying a la plancha…
Gambas a la Teriyaki (Serves 2)
- 3/4 Lb of shrimp (preferably tail-on florida hoppers or pink tail-on)
- 1 cup of good Teriyaki sauce – I prefer
- 1 yellow or orange pepper
- At least 8 wooden skewers
- A few tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, diced
- Marinate shrimp in Teriyaki sauce and the diced garlic for 1-2 hours.
- While marinating, soak wooden skewers in cold water.
- Cut up pepper into little squares (about 1 inch wide) and set aside.
- Heat grill to about 300-350 degrees (Medium/Medium-High Heat).
- Skewer shrimp and peppers, alternating shrimp and peppers
- Brush olive oil over skewers and add to hot grill.
- Cook until there’s a slight char on both sides. (5-10 minutes depending on how hot grill is and how big shrimp is).
- Serve with cooked rice, bok choy (recipe below), and a dry white wine. Preferably Chardonnay.
For the Bok Choy:
- 1 (2 pound) head of bok choy
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt (such as LAWRY’S®)
- 1-2 teaspoons of Sriracha hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil the grate.
- In a bowl, mix butter, sriracha, garlic powder, paprika, and 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper. Slice the bottom off the head of bok choy, and remove and clean the stalks. Sprinkle seasoned salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper over both sides of the stalks.
- Lay the bok choy stalks on the preheated grill. Brush with seasoned butter mixture, cover the grill, and cook until the bok choy stalks show grill marks and the leaves are crisp at the edges, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the bok choy, brush with butter mixture, cover, and grill the other sides. Brush with any remaining butter mixture, and remove to a platter to serve.