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Shrimp and Tomato Kebabs: The Easiest Thing to Serve at Your Late Summer Soirée

I had been working in catering for a whole two weeks when the request came in: a client wanted a specific menu for her late summer party, one that boasted seasonal flavors and colors and lean protein. It also had to be served hot to those who arrived early, but should be equally appetizing if eaten at room temperature later in the evening.

She also asked me to avoid gluten, and to keep the vegetarians in mind, and if possible, to serve something that wouldn’t require a fork and knife as she felt finger foods were more appropriate for her planned gathering. I felt the panic building inside me with each request, which I noted in chicken scratch on a loose sheet of paper. What could I possibly suggest to meet all of her criteria?

After poring over my page for almost an hour, I took a deep breath and told my boss that I was stumped on a menu and had no idea what to suggest.  She let her eyes quickly scan the list of requirements, and before she reached the last of them she told me “shrimp or fish kebabs will work well for this.”

Shrimp & Tomato Kebabs 1

At the time it pained me to admit that I didn’t know fish or shrimp could be served that way, but I sure was glad to learn because it’s saved me more times that I care to count when it comes to hosting my own summer soirées.

I love that most kebabs can be cooked in advance and reheated, served at room temperature, or dished up hot from the grill on the day of a party.

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These shrimp kebabs came to be when I realized there wasn’t anything easier than threading some lightly marinated seafood and seasonal tomatoes on wooden skewers, grilling them to golden perfection, and setting them out for friends to nosh on, hot or not.

When making kebabs it’s important to keep a few things in mind:

  • wooden skewers can be used, just be sure to soak them for 30 minutes in cold water to avoid burning the ends.
  • use metal skewers if that’s what you have available
  • avoid overcrowding ingredients on your sticks
  • use similar-sized pieces for even cooking.

Over the years I came to learn that it’s possible to serve all kebabs in this manner, including those made from beef, chicken, or vegetables. For me, the secret is to serve a sauce on the side, perfect for dipping and adding a boost of flavor if the meat is no longer warm and the seasonings have mellowed just a little.

Shrimp and Tomato Kebabs
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Recipe type: Dinner
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves/Yield: 6 (2 per person)
If tomatoes aren’t your thing – and to be honest they aren’t mine – fennel or pattypan squash will make a mighty fine replacement in this recipe. The zingy feta dip can be made up to two days in advance and tucked in the fridge until needed.
Ingredients
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 pint (about 2 cups) cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 12 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
For the dip:
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest and juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, shallot, and oregano and whisk to combine. Add the shrimp and tomatoes and toss. Let rest for 10 minutes to let flavors infuse the shrimp.
  2. While the shrimp is marinating, place all of the dip ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth and well combined. Transfer the sauce to a small bowl, cover, and store in the fridge until needed.
  3. Preheat the grill to medium-high. Thread the shrimp and tomatoes onto the skewers, alternating between the two. Place the skewers on the oiled grill and cook for 2 minutes per side, or until the shrimp is cooked through.
  4. Serve hot or at room temperature with feta dip on the side.

 

Have you ever been stumped when planning a menu? What are some of your secrets for success?

About Jan

Jan Scott is a Canadian food writer, party planner, and mom of two active tween boys. She is the home cook and creative behind Family Bites, a blog inspired by the simple recipes and party ideas she’s put to the test on her family. Prior to making the transition to freelance writer, Jan spent five years as a party planner for a private catering company, but shifted to working from home in order to spend more time with her growing family.

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Comments

  1. These look and sound incredible!! Kabobs are so fun!
    Tieghan’s last post: California Chicken, Veggie, Avocado and Rice Bowls

  2. Beautiful! These are going on the menu this week!
    Sommer@ASpicyPerspective’s last post: Italian-Style Mac & Cheese

  3. I have totally been into grilled shrimp this summer and these sound great! What a tasty dip!
    Kevin @ Closet Cooking’s last post: Jerk Shrimp Tacos with Pineapple Salsa, Slaw and Pina Colada Crema

  4. Perfect summer meal!
    Maria’s last post: Jalapeño Cornbread Panzanella Salad

  5. love the simplicity of this for a summer party! this is definitely perfect and low-stres!
    Julie @ Table for Two’s last post: Peach and Toasted Almond Ice Cream

  6. This is pretty much all my husbands favorite foods in one dish (especially if I added the fennel!) What great party food too-I don’t know why I never think of kabobs when we are having people over. Time to give it a try I think :)
    Moira @ Hearth and Homefront’s last post: French 75

  7. LOVE kebabs, they are so easy and the shrimp look delicious!

  8. Summer perfect! I love this!
    naomi’s last post: Raspberry and Chocolate Ripple Semifreddo

  9. Another perfect combination before we lose some summer for grilling, but it would be perfect cooked indoors too. Love it.
    Ash-foodfashionparty’s last post: SPICED WALNUTS with Balsamic and Curry Powder

  10. Those colours look fantastic. It has been so warm this winter here in Sydney Australia- it’s 23C today- that I think an early dinner BBQ is called for today. :-)

  11. These are so easy & very tasty…LOVE kebabs.

  12. Kebabs are perfect for dietary restrictive guests! Love this idea.
    Sandy Coughlin’s last post: Entertaining at Home and 4 Happiness Stealers

  13. La Torontoise says:

    Dear Jan, Aimee,
    Yesterday, my 9 years old son (who loves so much cooking-:) did both the fennel and the cherry tomatoes versions of the kebab; was for dinner; we had much fun as we had a few other kids over and it all felt like a small scale cooking workshop.
    It was also much fun eating the dish; all my guests were fascinated:-)
    Thank you so much for this simple and delicious recipe!
    Ideal for vacation times; in hot place!

    All the best from the South of France!

  14. Jan,
    These kebabs look yummy–and great to serve for a variety of guests.
    I bet the leftovers are delicious eaten cold out of the fridge in the middle of the night, too!
    Thank you.
    Kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts’s last post: Mediterranean Tomato Tart (artichokes, green olives, arugula, feta)

  15. Gorgeous kabobs and very mouthwatering as well…Perfect for any summer meal!
    Denise Browning@From Brazil To You’s last post: Rainbow Butterfly Cake with Cloud Buttercream Frosting: Happy Birthday, Hannah!!!

  16. Kebabs are so fun :) my husband would really enjoy these!

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