My dear friend, the ebullient, smiley, and somewhat wacky Matt Armendariz of Matt Bites has a new “schtick”, namely, food on a stick. On a Stick! is Matt’s new cookbook, aimed at the party crowd, and filled with every conceivable food one could put on a stick. There are the expected—kebabs, corn dogs and popsicles—and the whimsical—jello shots, potato chips, and my visual favorite, spaghetti and meatballs. All on a stick. It’s a seriously fun book, and even if you don’t ever try to make some of the more unusual stick foods, just the idea of them may make you smile.
At my last somewhat larger than normal gathering at my house, I decided to try out a few recipes from Matt’s book. This paprika marinated shrimp skewer recipe is the one that we all decided we liked the most. Spicy, smokey, garlicky, with sprinkle of lime. Best part? It was dead easy to make. Cooking for groups larger than say, 2 or 4, tends to fluster me, so when it comes to party food, for me the simpler the better. But those days of just putting out some salsa and chips are long gone. People have higher expectations! Even my parents. If I don’t tempt them with something good, they’ll just stay at home, where they know the food is good. They loved Matt’s shrimp, and went back for seconds.
Smoky Paprika Shrimp Skewers Recipe
If you are using frozen shrimp, defrost them safely by putting them in to a bowl of ice water.
- 2 Tbsp sweet paprika
- 2 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 lb of large shrimp, cleaned and peeled, tails on
- Bamboo skewers
1 Soak the skewers in water for half an hour before grilling.
2 In a large bowl whisk together the spices—the paprikas, cumin, garlic, salt, and pepper—and the lime juice and olive oil. Add the shrimp and toss to coat with the marinade. Keep chilled for half an hour to an hour.
3 Prepare grill for medium-high direct heat, or heat a grill pan. Thread the shrimp onto skewers. Baste the grill grates with some vegetable oil so that the shrimp don't stick. Grill or cook a few minutes per side (2-4, depending on the size of the shrimp), until the shrimp are just cooked through. Remove from grill and serve immediately.
Yield: Serves 4.