Tender, charred from the grill, and full of flavor! These grilled shrimp skewers are the grilled shrimp you always wished you could make. And the creamy, spicy roasted red pepper sauce puts it over the top.
Today I have for you my latest tapas recipe. I love developing Spanish tapas and I think you’ll love my version of a Spanish shrimp kabob. Steamy summer heat, grilled skewers of shrimp, and a glass of white wine. What could be better?
Grilled Shrimp Tapas
Once I decided to make shrimp skewers, I began marinating shrimp in olive oil, garlic, paprika, salt, and other spices then putting them on skewers and trying to come up with reliable time and temperature for juicy, fully cooked shrimp.
But guess what?
They are so small and the heat of the grill so high (even when you are using a cooler part of the grill) that I couldn’t get the shrimp just right. The marinade oil and the dipping sauce were great, but the shrimp not so much. What to do?
And then I came across an article by Kenji at Serious Eats on grilling shrimp. This was the answer!
How do you make grilled shrimp skewers?
To make grilled shrimp skewers toss the shrimp with salt and baking soda then thread them on skewers and let them dry in the fridge. Brush the shrimp with oil and grill on high heat a few minutes per side, then serve with a dipping sauce.
Prep and Cook the Shrimp
Toss the shrimp with salt and baking soda
I like about 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda for every pound of shrimp.
Thread the shrimp on skewers
This bit is important! (Not only because this is a recipe for shrimp kebabs, but also to cook the shrimp properly. 🙂 ) Use two skewers for each set of shrimp and press the shrimp up together. This allows the shrimp to act like a larger piece of meat and have a chance to char before cooking through.
Dry the shrimp
Drying the shrimp helps promote browning. Also, this time allows the shrimp to brine from the salt.
Brush with a quick marinade
A little olive oil with smoked paprika and garlic gives the shrimp great flavor and color.
Make the Dipping Sauce
Simmer the cream and peppers
Start the sauce by simmering the cream, roasted red peppers, and garlic together. This reduces the cream, softens the peppers, and cooks the garlic. All providing a great base to the sauce.
Puree the sauce
Once the everything has cooked down and cooked through, transfer the sauce to a blender. Then add the spices (and decide how much cayenne you like – remember you can always add more but you can’t take it out!) and puree the sauce.
You can enjoy the sauce warm or room temperature. If you make the sauce the day ahead, take it out of the fridge to take the chill off while the shrimp are resting before you grill.
If you try my recipe for Grilled Shrimp Skewers, I would love to hear from you in the comments with your experience and rating! And I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.
Grilled Shrimp Skewers - Spanish Tapas
- 1 lb extra jumbo or colossal shrimp, see note
- 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 taste
- kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- Thaw, peel, and clean the shrimp as needed. You can leave the tails on if you wish.
- Toss the shrimp with the salt and baking soda.
- Thread the shrimp 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 shrimp on a baking dish so that air can circulate around them and put them in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.
- While the shrimp 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 the shrimp 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 your shrimp 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 Size: Shrimp are usually sold by their count. You are looking for a 16/20 count per pound for extra jumbo shrimp or a 11/15 count for colossal shrimp. Anywhere in that range will give you shrimp large enough to grill in this recipe. (FYI: I used shrimp in the colossal range for the photos and had 14 shrimp/pound.)
- Flavoring Oil: 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 shrimp and grill.
- Spice: 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.
- Make ahead: You can make the sauce up to one day ahead. Refrigerate until you are ready to eat. Also, the shrimp can be served hot or at room temperature.
- Servings: 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.