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.
The 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
If you are using frozen shrimp, defrost them safely by putting them in to a bowl of ice water.
- 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound of large shrimp, cleaned and peeled, tails on
- Bamboo skewers
Soak the skewers in water for at least a half an hour before grilling.
Marinate the shrimp
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.
Grill the shrimp
Prepare grill for medium-high direct heat, or heat a grill pan. Thread the shrimp onto skewers (it helps to double thread with two skewers at a time to make it easier to turn over on the grill).
Baste the grill grates with some olive oil so that the shrimp don't stick to the grill.
Grill or cook the shrimp 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.