Pineapple-Shrimp Teriyaki Kabobs

Pineapple-Shrimp Teriyaki Kabobs

Beth Harbison:
Pineapple-Shrimp Teriyaki Kabobs

These kabobs are perfect for summer grilling. If you love pineapple,
shrimp and or teriyaki, this will be a favorite recipe!


Sometimes it’s hard to be June Cleaver in a Sharon Osborne world.

I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s – a time of Shalimar perfume, long (and forgiving) print dresses, Bridge Nights, and lots of foods involving cream cheese or Jell-O.  Sometimes both.

All of it seemed incredibly wonderful to me (especially the jiggling food!)

When I grew up and had kids and my own house, I found that life was different from what my parents had when I grew up.

The houses were smaller.

But the food was so much better.

No more chutneys!  No gelatin!  No “Pringle Crusted Halibut Pot Pie.”  Frankly no more moms getting dinner on the table every night at six sharp.  We were too busy, too stressed, to make square meals on a schedule.

But we did cook often, and it was always good stuff.  Our little block of townhouses in the D.C. suburbs was filled with bartenders and gourmands!  Truly not one week would pass that children didn’t cross the parking lot delivering portions of hot Shrimp Diavalo, Butternut Saffron Risotto, Buttermilk Panko Chicken breasts, warm-from-the-oven chocolate macadamia cookies, or something equally tempting to neighbors’ houses.

We all sat together at night in the parking lot on summer nights, pulling up grills and folding lawn chairs, laughing, cooking and drinking while the children played and the sky stretched from twilight to the deep purple of midnight.

And it was on one of those nights that this recipe was born.  A recent Florida transplant to the neighborhood mentioned how much she loved grilled pineapple.  I was intrigued.  Grilled pineapple?

It wasn’t just for breakfast while on vacation in the south?

I was willing to try it out.  I put a slice on the hot grill, and one taste of that thin edge of caramelized crispiness, complimented with the juicy tropical succulence of the fruit turned me into a believer.

And an inventor.

What if I paired that sweetness with the heat of, say, wasabi, I wondered.  And the crisp bite of red onion.

I swear to you I really think that way.

All.  The. Time.

So I tried it.  And the resulting recipe, below, is, in my estimation, the finest summer recipe there is.  Apart from fresh lemonade, that is (trick: juice the lemons by beating them on low in your KitchenAid mixer).

One bite and you are in summer heaven, whether your summer heaven is a beach in Maui, under a palm tree in Key West, the plains of Kansas, or a back yard in New Jersey.

Or a tiny postage stamp of a yard in a parking lot for sixteen townhouses in the suburbs of Germantown, Maryland.

We’ve all moved on now, to bigger houses, further away.  But we (and our kids) still talk regularly and see each other as often as possible.  And the food still comes, only now it’s usually just an email.

How does this relate to my book, Secrets of a Shoe Addict?  That’s easy.  Books – more importantly characters – aren’t created from nothing.  They come from life, from experience, from friends, and – when you’re lucky – from lots of happy memories.  Secrets of a Shoe Addict is about the camaraderie among women, the friendships that face occasionally-stark reality with humor and support.  The book takes all the stories we told and heard those boozy/munchie summer nights and turns them into something else, but the feeling of fun and friendship remains.

And so does the Pineapple-Shrimp Teriyaki Kabob recipe!

Pineapple-Shrimp Teriyaki Kabobs
Prep time: 1 hour

The best skewers for kabobs are ones that are flat instead of round, because it’s easier to flip the kabobs on the grill. If you’re having a salad on the side with this dish, it’s nice to grill extra pineapple and add it to the salad.

For the teriyaki marinade:

½ cup soy sauce
½ cup mirin wine
1/3 cup raw sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger root
½ teaspoon wasabi powder (or ¼ teaspoon wasabi paste)
1 large garlic clove, smashed (not pressed or chopped)

For the kabobs:

1-1/2 pounds jumbo shrimp
1 pound cubed fresh pineapple
2 large red onions, cut into wedge

1.  Combine marinade ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a boil for 2 minutes, then lower heat and simmer until sauce has thickened and reduced to a syrupy consistency. Cool and remove the garlic clove (discard).

2.  Marinate the shimp, pineapple, and red onion in the teriyaki marinade for ½ hour, then skewer onto kabob sticks, alternating pineapple, shrimp, and onion.

3.  Grill over hot charcoal or medium-high gas for 4 minutes per side, or until shrimp is done.