How to make Grilled Shrimp Skewers.
1 lb extra jumbo or colossal shrimp
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional
Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 roasted red peppers, one jar 12-14 ounces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne powder, or more to tastekosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Thaw, peel, and clean the shrimp as needed. You can leave the tails on if you wish.
Toss with the salt and baking soda.
Thread them onto sets of two skewers, pressing them together so that fit snugly against each other. (One skewer will go near the head of the shrimp and other near the tail.) You will want to have 5-7 shrimp on each set of skewers.
Place the skewers on a baking dish so that air can circulate around them and put them in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.
While the skewers are resting, heat the olive oil with the crushed garlic in a small pan over low heat until the garlic is fragrant and starting to sizzle and brown, 3-5 minutes.
Take the oil off the heat and add the smoked paprika. Stir to combine and set aside until you are ready to use it.
Heat your grill on high.
Brush (or spoon over) the paprika oil on both sides of each shrimp skewer.
Grill the shrimp, turning once or twice until they are opaque, firm, and cooked through, 5-7 minutes. Check the larger head ends of the shrimp to make sure they are done since they will take the longest.
Transfer to the serving platter and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve with the dipping sauce.
Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:
Make this sauce while the shrimp are resting in the refrigerator.
In a saucepan, simmer the cream, roasted red peppers, and garlic. Simmer for 7-8 minutes, or until the mixture is reduced a bit, and the red peppers are soft.
Transfer the mixture to a blender. Add the paprika, smoked paprika, and cayenne along with a pinch or two of salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.
Shrimp are usually sold by their count. You are looking for a 16/20 count per pound for extra jumbo or a 11/15 count for colossal. Anywhere in that range will give you shrimp large enough to grill in this recipe. (FYI: I used ones in the colossal range for the photos and had 14 shrimp/pound).
If you don’t want to deal with heating the oil and infusing it, just mix the olive oil with the paprika and 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder. Brush over the skewers and grill.
I find 1/2 tsp of cayenne to make a spicy but not super spicy sauce. However, it all depends on your heat tolerance, so taste and adjust as needed.
You can make the sauce up to one day ahead. Refrigerate until you are ready to eat. Also, the recipe can be served hot or at room temperature.
This recipes serves 4-6 as an appetizer (depending on how many other dishes are served) or 2-3 as a main course with a few sides.
Secrets To The Recipe:
Press the shrimp together. Larger pieces of meat do well on the grill since there is time for the outside to char while the inside cooks. To approximate this with such small items, press several of them up together on a double skewer (so they stay together) before putting them on the grill.
Toss them with baking soda and salt. This combo brines to keep things juicy while improving the texture and helping them brown on the grill. Let things dry out. Another way to help food brown is to get it dry before cooking it. Shrimp are no exception and letting the skewers dry out in the fridge for at least 30 minutes makes a big difference in getting that great, charred flavor in a short amount of time.