Take It Outside: Fun Grilled Chicken and Shrimp Recipes

Whip up these easy yet elegant summer dinner recipes without breaking a sweat.

Photos by Quentin Bacon

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Call me the Master of the Tongs! When the weather starts to warm, I’m the first to hop outside. There’s no sense in turning on the oven when an outdoor grill is just a few steps away. And grilling imparts the most delicious flavors to summer dishes and meats.

Summer is peak stone fruit season, and peaches are one of my favorites. A few years back at my restaurant Maude, we featured a whole menu devoted entirely to the fuzzy fruit. In my Grilled Chicken with Quick-Pickled Peaches recipe, I use the pickled peach condiment almost as a chutney. Once the layered flavors of paprika, mustard, and brown sugar spice mixture are combined with the vinegar and tossed with sweet, ripe peaches, the dish just sings. The beauty of this dish is a total prep and cook time of about 35 minutes.

Who doesn’t love a kebab? I break out the skewers every summer. Kebabs are an affordable way to feed a crowd and prevent those pesky shrimp from falling through the grates, and the kids love to thread the skewers. In Grilled Shrimp and Okra with Saucy Skillet Corn, the sweet shrimp combined with seasonal corn just works. It can be assembled early and refrigerated, then brought out when it’s time to grill.

The secret to a great outdoor summer gathering is to keep it simple. Lighter fare and seasonal ingredients don’t require too much thought or preparation. By nature, they are ready to give you a kitchen vacation.

Grilled Chicken with Quick-Pickled Peaches

(Makes 4 servings)

2    firm but ripe yellow peaches (12 ounces total),
pitted, thinly sliced

½   red onion (4 ounces), thinly sliced

¼   cup white wine vinegar

2    teaspoons granulated sugar

2    teaspoons paprika

1    teaspoon brown sugar

1    teaspoon ground mustard

6    chicken thighs (about 2 ¾ pound)

2    teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3    ounces mixed baby greens

Preheat covered grill over medium heat. For gas grill: Just before grilling chicken, turn burners for half of grill to low and keep other burners on medium heat. For charcoal grill: Just before grilling chicken, bank most coals to one side of grill and spread remaining coals in an even layer over other half. u

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, toss peaches, onions, vinegar, sugar, and ½ teaspoon salt. Set aside at room temperature for at least 15 minutes, tossing often.

In small bowl, mix paprika, brown sugar, mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Coat chicken with 2 teaspoons oil and evenly sprinkle spice mixture all over chicken. Place chicken skin side up on cooler side of grill. Cover grill and cook, rotating as needed, for about 20 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of chicken registers 165°F. Place chicken skin side down on hotter side of grill. Cook, rotating as needed to prevent flare-ups, for about 3 minutes, or until skin is crisp. Set aside to rest.

Divide greens among 4 plates. Strain pickling liquid from peaches and onions. Scatter pickled peaches and onions over greens. Pour 3 tablespoons pickling liquid into a small bowl, whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and season with salt and pepper. Serve chicken alongside salad and drizzle with pickling liquid vinaigrette.

Make-Ahead: Pickled peaches can be made up to 1 day ahead, covered, and refrigerated.

Per Serving:
Calories: 613
Total Fat: 39 g
Saturated Fat: 10 g
Sodium: 227 mg
Carbohydrate: 15 g
Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 49 g
Diabetic Exchanges: 7 lean meat, 0.5 fruit, 1 vegetable, 5 fat

Photo by Quentin Bacon

Grilled Shrimp and Okra with Saucy Skillet Corn

(Makes 4 servings)

½   pound peeled deveined medium (U31-40)
raw shrimp

12  okra

3    tablespoons olive oil

1    teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika

2    vine-ripened tomatoes, halved

2    tablespoons butter

2    ears fresh yellow corn, kernels removed

6    basil leaves, torn into small pieces

2    cups freshly steamed white rice

Prepare grill for medium-high direct heat. Thread shrimp onto 4 metal skewers (or bamboo skewers that have been soaked in water for 30 minutes) and okra onto 2 skewers.

In small bowl, mix oil, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Brush oil-spice mixture all over okra and then shrimp. Grill shrimp 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until shrimp are lightly charred and just cooked through. Set shrimp aside to rest.

Grill okra 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until okra are charred and softened. Remove from skewers and cut into ½-inch rounds, discarding stems.

Meanwhile, place box grater inside medium bowl. Rub cut sides of tomatoes over large holes on grater to produce tomato puree; discard skins that do not pass through grater.

Heat large heavy frying pan directly on grill grates. Add 1 tablespoon butter. When butter is bubbling, add corn. Cook, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes, or until corn is blistered in spots and almost tender. Add tomato puree and ½ cup water and simmer 4 minutes, or until sauce is just coating corn kernels. Remove skillet from grill and stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter and half of basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Spoon rice onto 4 plates and spoon corn mixture over. Divide shrimp and okra among plates and sprinkle with remaining basil.

Make-Ahead: Shrimp and okra can be skewered 1 day ahead of grilling, covered, and refrigerated.

Per Serving:
Calories: 349
Total Fat: 18 g
Saturated Fat: 5 g
Sodium: 409 mg
Carbohydrate: 37 g
Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 13 g

Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 lean meat, 1 vegetable, 3 fat

There’s more! Try out Curtis Stone’s delicious Corn Salad recipe at saturdayeveningpost.com/cornsalad.

This article is featured in the July/August 2024 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.


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