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When I think of summer, I think of hot days spent with friends and family, barbecuing in the backyard or in a park. And even though school is starting up again soon for most kids, there’s still time to get out and have some fun in the sun! These shrimp are great to bring along for parties in the park, or for an outdoor family dinner. They are super fast to cook, and can be prepared ahead of time so all that’s left is throwing them on the grill.These shrimp have a secret to them… they’re cured in salt and sugar to help tenderize them and to add extra flavor. They also have a fun-factor to them: skewers! I love eating food off of skewers! First of all, skewers automatically make any food into finger foods, in my mind at least. They also provide a unique presentation, and an ease for cooking small bits like shrimp or chunks of meat. And, at the end of the night, when all of the skewers are empty, you can set a bad example and have skewer-fights! Sorry, my mind has a tendency to wander to that of a child sometimes. But skewer-fights aside, try these shrimp!

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp

2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 pounds shrimp (12 to 15 shrimp per pound)
ΒΌ cup olive oil
ΒΌ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel (from about 1 lemon)
3 or 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Β½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving

In a large bowl, combine salt, sugar, and shrimp; toss gently to coat. Cover and chill 45 minutes to 1 hour. Rinse shrimp well and drain; rinse and dry bowl, and add shrimp back to bowl. Add olive oil, parsley, lemon peel, garlic, and pepper. Mix to coat. Thread shrimp on metal or soaked wooden skewers, running skewer through the body once near the tail and once near the head end of each shrimp so it looks like the letter C.

Lay shrimp skewers on an oiled barbecue grill over high heat; close lid. Cook, turning once after 2 to 3 minutes, and cook for another 3 minutes, or until the shrimp are bright pink and opaque but still moist-looking in center of thickest part (cut into shrimp if needed). Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over shrimp.

Note: The shrimp can assembled on the skewers up to 1 day in advance; cover and chill.

Source: Slightly adapted from Sunset, July 2005