Caprese has always been one of my favorite salads. ripe tomatoes, delicious fresh mozzarella, fragrant basil, drizzled with balsamic glaze. Then add in a delicious perfectly cooked shrimp, and you have a winning Shrimp Caprese Skewers appetizer for any party!
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I also think these appetizers are fun in that you can serve them at almost any point in making them.
Simply as mozzarella, basil, and tomato. Or, go with everything: shrimp, mozzarella, basil, tomato, and balsamic glaze.
We were told by a fishmonger that all seafood is frozen once it’s caught.
Just think about how far it has to come from the ocean to the store, and how that shipping would go if they didn’t freeze it.
So, if you’re buying the stuff from the “fresh” counter, the only things you don’t know are, how long it’s been defrosted, or even how many times it’s been defrosted and refrozen.
So, I always buy frozen seafood, and this includes shrimp.
Count per pound is on the bag
I like 16-20 count per lb. for this recipe, also called extra jumbo shrimp. This number is called the count of the shrimp, and it tells you how many individual shrimp there are in one pound of shrimp. It’s read as “16 to 20 shrimp per pound”, so the smaller the number, the bigger the shrimp.
So it makes it nice and easy to get the pound of shrimp you’ll need for this recipe.
And, don’t worry if you have a couple more or a couple less. Cooking is mostly just “near-enough” measurements.
How to thaw shrimp
I like to buy peeled and deveined shrimp. Which are really easy to prepare.
Thaw frozen shrimp overnight in the refrigerator.
Or, my preferred method because it’s so easy is to thaw them when you need them and only as many as you need: Remove the shrimp from the bag and thaw them in a colander or strainer under cold tap water. Change the water a couple of times, and they should defrost in about 3 minutes total.
You’ll be able to tell they are defrosted when they are pliable and no icy spots remain.
Use thawed shrimp immediately. And be sure to never refreeze them.
Tail on shrimp
Shrimp will often come with the tail on. After you defrost the shrimp, it’s really easy to remove the tail.
I snap my fingernail into the underside of the tail shell, and peel back the tail shell. Just takes a second. And, it generally comes off in one piece.
I think removing the tail shell makes it easier to eat them. Though if you want a fancy look you can leave the tail shell on.
Sheet pan shrimp
The sheet pan baking of these shrimp mean just 5-10 minutes of prep time, and just 8 minutes to bake them.
These shrimp would be great for dinner or as an appetizer on their own.
Make up some pasta, toss in these shrimp, some garlic and olive oil, and you have a super easy and delicious dinner.
Likewise, you could serve these sheet pan shrimp with some tortillas for tacos. Or some cocktail sauce for shrimp cocktail.
Then, these skewers come together easily, just line up your ingredients and skewer them on some fun party skewers. Drizzle some glaze on top. Now you have a delicious and easy party appetizer.
And this appetizer will work at any party, from a New Year’s Eve party to a football tailgate party to a birthday party.
It fits in from fancy to just hanging out.
Balsamic glaze is also called balsamic syrup, and can easily be purchased at most grocery stores. Just look where they sell the balsamic vinegar, and other vinegars, and you’ll probably see it there.
You can also make your own balsamic glaze.
Simply cook equal parts sugar to balsamic vinegar, until the sugar is dissolved, and the mixture is syrupy.
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Shrimp Caprese Skewers Recipe
Shrimp Caprese Skewers
- 1 pound raw shrimp thawed & peeled
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- Few cracks of fresh black pepper
- 20 Grape tomatoes
- 20 Fresh basil leaves
- 20 Fresh mozzarella balls Ciliegine, boconccini, or pearls
- 20 Wooden skewers
- Balsamic glaze
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 450º F. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil, parchment paper, or a Silpat baking mat.
- Place peeled shrimp in a bowl, add in oil, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil, and freshly cracked black pepper. Toss to combine, and pour out onto the prepared sheet pan, arranging shrimp in a single layer.
- Bake in preheated oven, about 6-8 minutes, or until just until pink and firm throughout. (Shrimp can be served hot at this point, for dinner or as an appetizer, or allow to cool to room temperature for Shrimp Caprese Skewers).
- Skewer a shrimp, grape tomato, basil leaf, and fresh mozzarella ball onto a wooden skewer, wrapping the shrimp around the tomato if desired.
- Drizzle balsamic glaze over the skewers, and garnish with freshly ground black pepper.