Catalina Island Grilled Shrimp

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Catalina Island Grilled Shrimp from

Catalina Island Grilled Shrimp.

Prep 10 mins   Cook 10 mins   Eat 20 mins
This Catalina Island Grilled Shrimp comes with a story. We are sailors. That means that a lot of time each summer is spent on a boat. There’s Tuesday night (TNT) races in Marina del Rey, Wednesday night Cal Yacht Club Sunset Series racing, casual Sundays day sailing in Long Beach and a couple weekend trips 26 miles across the sea. Santa Catalina is a-waitin’ for me. The Island of romance, romance, romance, romance!

Dolphis swim  in the Pacific on the way to Catalina island from

Dolphins swim on the bow of our sailboat on the way to Catalina Island

We set sail this summer to Catalina Island from Marina del Rey. (Actually it’s 30 miles to the Isthmus or Two Harbors as it’s also known.) Five to six hours with your sails set, the wind on your face, a few friends and good food, always lots of food. The stories always flow, drama about past trips, recent sailing adventures, bragging about winning a race, when to trim the sails, do we really have to turn the motor on to get their faster?, even debates about politics enter the conversation. Then, DOLPHINS OFF THE BOW 2:00 (Where to look as on a clock.) I scramble to the bow (the front) of the boat and wait for the dolphins to come toward us and swim in our bow wake. I talk to them and coax them to come over to us. They almost always do and hundreds of dolphins now surround us as if to lead the way to Catalina Island. We call them the Catalina Island welcome committee.  It’s an island tradition to see dolphins on the way. We hope, anyway!  These wild mammals are people friendly and a treat to see.

Catalina Island Sailing and guacamole from

After sailing to Catalina, it’s fresh guacamole, chips and a cold beer with Michael, Chris and Captain Ken.

Another tradition is to celebrate our safe crossing after 5 hours at sea with a bowl of fresh-made guacamole and chips along with an ice cold beer.  While the guys are doing the hard work getting us on the mooring, I’m down below in the galley with fresh avocados, tomatoes, cilantro, green onions, garlic and jalapeno making the fresh guacamole.  This time, my nephew sous chef, Michael assisted me in this duty.  He has become our official guacamole maker coaxing more jalapeno into the bowl to make it hot and spicy.

Catalina Island Grilled Shrimp made on a sailboat from

Making Catalina Island Grilled Shrimp in the galley takes no more than 10 minutes.

After enjoying our view of the harbor, watching other boats pick up their moorings, which is the official Isthmus entertainment, it’s time to get our Catalina Island Grilled Shrimp on the bar-bee.   I like to butterfly the shrimp.  This means to slice nearly through the back of the shrimp where it has been deveined. This takes an extra five minutes, but it’s well worth the effort.  It makes a beautiful presentation and gets all the marinade flavors injected into the shrimp.  Add to the bowl of shrimp, the minced garlic, the lemon zest, lemon juice, minced rosemary, a splash of olive oil and salt and pepper, Stir everything together and let it sit while you get everything else together for the meal.

Green Bean, Potato, Tomato and Pesto Salad recipe from

Green Bean, Potato, Tomato and Pesto Salad

On this trip I had intended to serve the Green Bean, Potato, Tomato and Pesto Salad along with our Catalina Island Grilled Shrimp, which would have been killer good, but I had left the pesto behind in my refrigerator.  That’s the thing about cooking on a boat, you can’t just go to the store.  Everything must be planned out meticulously in advance. The good news is that I did remember to bring the potatoes and green beans, which I had cooked in advance, so I made up a quick marinade of olive oil, Dijon mustard and lemon juice to toss the vegetables in.  It went great with the Catalina Island Grilled Shrimp.

Catalina Island Grilled Shrimp recipe from

Michael grills our Catalina Island Grilled Shrimp on the boat BBQ.

There is no better view while you are cooking than grilling on a boat.  The only problem is that if you make a wrong move, your dinner could end up in the ocean.  That did happen once.  The grill wasn’t attached to the rail well and it did a back flip with our salmon jumping into the ocean.  My sweetie moved quickly and rescued the salmon encased in foil from the water somehow. We figured since the salmon’s original home was the Pacific, we were just adding some original flavoring to it.  It was delicious!

Catalina Island Grilled Shrimp recipe from

Catalina Island Grilled Shrimp is so easy, you can make it on a boat in 20 minutes.

But the guys decided that the Catalina Island Grilled Shrimp was one of our best boat meals.  It requires little effort and cooks ups real fast on our low-powered boat grill.  Next time, I’m going to remember to bring the pesto and make the Green Beans, Potato, Tomato and Pesto Salad along with the Catalina Island Grilled Shrimp. when we go 26 miles across the sea.  Santa Catalina will be a-waitin for me.

Print this Recipe.

Catalina Island Grilled Shrimp

When using skewers to cook the shrimp on the grill, soak them ahead of time in water, which will help prevent the ends from burning.

2 pounds large shrimp (15-20#) , butterflied
1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper ( to taste)
12 wooden skewers soaked in water for 20-30 minutes

1. Shell shrimp if necessary and butterfly shrimp by slicing nearly through the back of the shrimp where it has been deveined and place in a bowl.  Remove zest (yellow part) from the lemon and then juice it.

2. Add to the bowl of shrimp, the minced garlic, the lemon zest, lemon juice, minced rosemary, a splash of olive oil to coat the shrimp and salt and pepper, Stir everything together and let it marinate while you heat up the grill.  Thread the shrimp on skewers and set aside.

3. Spray the grill with cooking oil and when it is ready, place the skewers on the grill, keeping their handles away from the heat source.  Cook for a few minutes on each side until the shrimp becomes transparent and reddish in color. Serve with lemon wedges.

Servings: 4    308 calories per serving

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