Take four random ingredients, one fruit, one vegetable, one starch and one protein, and create a whole meal out of them. That’s the challenge that a group of BBQ Blogger friends face each month. This months challenge ingredients were pomegranate, broccoli, focaccia and shrimp. The only real rule we have, amongst ourselves, is the protein has to be cooked outdoors with some type of live fire.
When I send out the email each month asking random participants for random ingredients I never know what’s going to come back. For the first two months the ingredients matched much more readily. This month though it got a lot more difficult coming up with flavor profiles that would match.
The broccoli and pomegranate were the two ingredients that gave me the biggest pause. I’ve eaten a lot of broccoli over the years, most of the time it’s as a more traditional veggie side dish so coming up with something different that would go with shrimp was hard. I mean, really, broccoli and shrimp. Tough, tough ingredient.
My only experience with pomegranate was picking them off a neighbor’s tree and throwing them at each other. All I knew about pomegranates was that they were full of juicy seed casings (known as arils) and the juice stained liked crazy. Without any idea of what the juice taste like I was a little concerned about how it would match.
I decided to go with pomegranate juice from POM instead of purchasing a bunch of individual pomegranates. After getting the bottle of juice home and tasting it I was able to start thinking about how to put all these ingredients into a meal that made sense.
A light and fresh meal was what I was hoping to come up with. I knew I wanted to grill the shrimp seasoned with Todd’s Crabby Dirt so the broccoli and pomegranate problem still was the stumbling block.
Light and fresh, to me, means salad. But it had to be a salad that would go with shrimp. Since I had to use broccoli it had to be a broccoli salad. I purchased a bag of shredded broccoli and came up with a pomegranate vinaigrette to make a nice vinegar based slaw that ended up matching well with the shrimp.
Broccoli Slaw with Cilantro Pomegranate Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup POM Pomegranate Juice
- 1/4 cup Sugar
- 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/2 cup Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoons Cilantro, finely chopped
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- 2 packages Broccoli Slaw
- Salt & Pepper to taste
In a small sauce pan warm pomegranate juice. Add sugar and remove from heat. Stir until sugar is fully dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Mix until completely combined. Refrigerate until cold.
Place Broccoli Slaw in a bowl, pour vinaigrette over slaw and mix. Chill for at least two hours. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
One of the ingredients was fococcia and whenever I need something baked for a blog post I turn to my favorite baker, Mrs. Grail (Celeste). She came up with some fantastic onion and rosemary fococcia that matched the flavors in the shrimp seasoning perfectly. The olive oil bread dough was moist and so flavorful. I couldn’t help but start to think of some other foods that we could grill up in the future to eat with this bread.
The shrimp was done very simply. I skewered the shrimp, drizzled it with olive oil and seasoned with Todd’s Crabby Dirt. The flavors in the seasoning matched the rosemary and onion in the fococcia very nicely.
Shrimp cook very quickly on a hot grill, so a great deal of care needs to be paid to them. This is one protein you can’t put over the fire and walk away from. A couple of minutes on each side is all you need. By using skewers you’re able to turn them over quickly and have much less of a chance of turning them to overcooked rubber.
Another important factor in getting properly cooked shrimp is making sure your grill is not too hot. You want a medium/hot grill with well oiled grates. One thing you might want to consider is oiling or spraying with non-stick spray right on the shrimp. This should help eliminate the hated shrimp stuck the grill grate problem.
We plated everything very simply. Nothing fancy with the bread, just a nice plate of broccoli slaw with some beautifully grilled shrimp.
Additional participants in this month’s Ingredient Challenge include:
The No Excuses BBQ website was started in January of 2009 as a way to record the author’s goal of cooking outdoors at least once a week throughout the year and showing the results to the world. Somewhere along the way things got out of control…
Rob Bergstrom of In To The Flames- ENTRY HERE
Rob launched Into The Flames in the summer of 2010 as a way to share his passion for cooking, eating, and exploring food.
Robyn Medlyn of Grillgrrrl – ENTRY HERE
Robyn Medlin is the “grill girl” behind grillgrrrl.com. Her focus is on healthy, simple and creative recipes on the grill. She encourages women to learn to grill as it a great way to create healthy, flavorful dishes without all the fuss and clean up in the kitchen. This “grill girl” holds quarterly “Women’s Grilling Clinics” as a way to encourage women to not be intimated by the grill. As a McCormick’s flavor correspondent for their “This Week in Grilling Campaign”, Robyn shares fun, tropical video recipes documenting her grilling adventures from her backyard in Sunny, Hollywood, Florida.
Chris of Nibble Me This – ENTRY HERE
The Nibble Me This website was created to share Chris’ misadventures in live fire cooking. ”I have no culinary training….I’m just entertaining myself with fire and food”.
Marc Van Der Wouw of Grill Adventures-ENTRY HERE
Grilladventures by broadcastmarc is started on march of 2010.I started the BBQ thing when I was 30,before that we eat a lot outside.have fun,but when the kids came in our life We start serious cooking.Most of it is realy healthy I think;-)The grill has a special place in my heart,We love to do things outside..Everything I make is an adventure,and sometimes we use the books.We try to grill as much as we can year round.