Grilled Spiced Shrimp with Pearl Onions



  • 24 large prawns or shrimp
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 whole cloves, crushed
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • ¼ pound butter, softened
  • 1 pound pearl onions
  • cups fish stock
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped


Peel and devein the shrimp.

Combine the oil, spices, and rum. Marinate the shrimp in this mixture for 30 minutes. Drain the shrimp and mix the marinade into 4 tablespoons of the butter. Set aside.

Peel the onions and make a cross on the bottom of each. Place onions in a saucepan with ½ cup of the fish stock and 2 tablespoons of the butter. Cover and cook them very slowly over low heat until the onions are soft, about 15 minutes.

Make a velouté with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, the flour, and the remaining 2 cups fish stock. Add the thyme and bay leaf and any liquid from the onions. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, skimming the surface as needed. Add the cream and simmer another 10 minutes. Strain through a fine strainer into another pan and add the onions.

Start a charcoal fire or heat the broiler.

Thread 6 shrimp on each of 4 skewers and lightly salt and pepper. Grill over a medium charcoal fire or broil for 1 to 2 minutes on each side.

Heat the onions and taste for seasoning. Remove the shrimp from the skewers and arrange them in the center of each plate. Arrange onions on the side. Place a spoonful of the reserved marinade butter on the shrimp and sprinkle the parsley all around.