Brined Shrimp Skewers with Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa & Grilled Lemon Slices

“Brining helps create a moist, salty smokiness in the grilled shrimp, which plays well with the refreshing citrus-like tartness of the tomatillos and richness of the avocado.” John Ash

Brined Shrimp Skewers with Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa & Grilled Lemon Slices 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4Source Adapted from CIA faculty member John AshPublished

serves 4


  • ⅓ cup kosher salt
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 quart cool water
  • 24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoon dry white wine
  • 4 ounce fresh tomatillos, husked, washed, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon serrano chile, seeded and corarsely chopped, or to taste
  • 1 large ripe, creamy acocado, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon green onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • 2 tablespoon cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • lemon slices as needed


For the brine: Stir the kosher salt, brown sugar into 1‑quart cool water until dissolved. Add the shrimp and refrigerate at least 15 minutes or up to one hour.

For the marinade: Mix ¼ cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, flat leaf parsley, red pepper flakes, and dry white wine in a small bowl and set aside.

Remove the shrimp from the brine. Wash and dry throughly. Toss them with the marinade, coat and marinate for 1‑hour, covered in the refrigerator.

For the salsa: In a food processor, combine the tomatillos, remaining teaspoon garlic, and serrano chile; pulse to finely chop. Add the avocado and green onion and pulse til just blended. The finished salsa should have some texture.

Place the salsa in a small bowl and toss with the extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Store, covered and refrigerated up to 2 hours. Toss with cilantro just before serving.

To grill the shrimp: Light a charcoal fire. Drain the shrimp from the marinade. Place the 6 shrimp on a work surface in front of you alternating the shrimp left and right, tucking them into themselves, following their natural shape. Secure the shrimp with 2 skewers so that they grill evenly and turn over easily.

Grill the shrimp over medium-hot coals until they are barely cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes total, turning halfway through. Grill the lemon slices until softened and well marked by the grill. Place the shrimp and lemon slices on plates and top with the salsa. Serve warm or at room temperature.